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The Essence of Puranas – Maha Bhagavata Purana-3

Posted by gopalakrishna

The Essence of Puranas – Maha Bhagavata Purana

Krishna’s vigorous drive of Spiritual Love

By now the people of Vraja had not only recognised Krishna Consciousness fully but also practised various forms of Worship-be it Rituals, Yoga, Group Bhajans ( Singing the hymns in praise of the Lord), ‘Vrathas’, meditation or ‘Japa’( recite the names of Almighty). Indeed,  Krishna Consiouness got spread over far and wide with the Vraja Bhoomi as the nucleus, not only among the humanity but all over the Universe, including the Planetery System, various Demi-Gods and the sub-terrain world.

The ‘Gopikas’-women and maidens- of Vraja Bhoomi were specially blessed often participating in Ras Lilas or Community Dance Sessions of Ecstacy; the belief was that ‘Gopikas’ were actually Sages, availing opportunities of physical and Spiritual interaction with Narayana Himself, thereby attaining trances and oneness.To the married women of Vraja Bhoomi especially, the repeated advice from Krishna was that out of affection and faith for Him, they should not neglect their family duties; He said that women in general, away from their fathers, mothers, brothers, husbands and children should not be causes for their worries. He also said:
Bhartuh susrusanam strinam  paro dharmo hi amayaya /
tat bandhunam cha kalyanah prajanam chanuposanam.
( The highest religious duty of a woman is to sincerely serve her husband, behave well toward his family and take care of the children).The unanimous reply to Krishna’s advice by all Gopikas was that indeed they ought to serve their families best, but in reality they would serve their families with the same dedication as their family would display to serve Almighty as well.[Padma Purana stated that Gopikas were either ‘Sruti Charis’ Personified Veda Scriptures) or ‘Rishi Charis’( Sages of previous births) viz. Nitya Siddhas or Sahana Siddhas respectively, but not normal humans].Even as Krishna continued His romantic escapades under the garb of Spiritual Activities, the buden on Earth was being reduced in destroying evil forces. Maha Muni Suka described to King Parikshith how the Bull Demon Arishta with a huge hump, mistaken as a mountain by the clouds, roared while scraping the ground with hooves and digging the Earth with horns and  created havoc and how  Krishna seized the animal by its horns and brought to it the ground and destroyed it.Another demon Kesi, a gigantic  horse commissioned by Kamsa attacked Krishna with speed and fury from the high skies and met the same fate as with Arishta.

Narada’s futuristic vision

Approaching Krishna the Supreme Form of  Lord Narayana Himself  to worship Him in solitude, Devarshi Narada described the unbelievable miracles of Krishna from his futuristic vision:Being the Supreme Energy of the Universe, which is His own volition to create and play with, Krishna is the Super Controller of Time-the Past, Present and Future. He descends on Earth to protect the virtuous and destroy the Evil; the destruction of  Arishta and Kesi are tiny instances of His omni-potency.

Thus Narada disclosed the future Events, as follows:  ‘Within two days now, Lord Krishna would witness the death of Chanura and Mustika, the man-mountain wrestlers and the massive elephant Kuvalayapida. The cruel King Kamsa would be the next target.The annihilations of Demons Kalayavana, Mura, Sankha  and Naraka would follow. Krishna would defeat Indra and present ‘Parijata’- the Heavenly Tree to Queen Rukmini; marry many daughters of Kings after defeating them out of valour; deliver King Nriga from his curse; capture the jewel ‘Samanthaka’from Jambavantha the Great Bear and marry Jambavati; revive and bring back the dead son of Sandipani Muni from the abode of Yama, the King of death; kill Poundraka, burn the City of Kasi; annihilate Dantavakra and the King of Chedi at Rajasurya Sacrifice; perform several other pastimes at ‘Dwaraka’ and emerge as the Charioteer of Arjuna at the Epic Battle of Mahabharata and after destroying many other Evil Forces lighten the burden of Earth!’  Thus Narada provided to the posterity a sweep of events to happen in future as per his mystic powers. The details of the Events  were described by Suka Mahamuni to King Parikshith. But some of the happenings are highlighted as follows in the following pages.

Krishna’s demolition of Kamsa and other Demons

Narada disclosed to Kamsa that the killers of Arishta, Kesi and other emissaries sent by the latter to kill Krishna and Balarama  were actually the sons of Vasudeva and Devaki but not of Nanda and Yashoda. Kamsa wished to kill his sister and Vasudeva in prison at once but was restrained by Narada. Kamsa called Chanura and Mushtika -the monster-like wrestlers, to get ready for a duel with the boys to be invited for a Bow-Sacrifice in honour of Yadus and asked Akrura of Yadu Vamsa to personally invite and accompany the boys of Nanda to celebrate the Function.
There was alround excitement in Mathura as the the illustrious brothers visited the City in person! Several persons gathered to see Krishna and Balarama, the mystifying figures from Brindavan even as large collections of ladies joined the processions as they were mesmorised. On way, the brothers met a washerman and asked for suitable dresses for them, but he was headstrong and talked foul and told them that they were beggars; Krishna nipped his head with his little finger; the miscreants were Kamsa’s followers and the notice was sent to the King squarely and he had no sleep in the previous night. They met a weaver and asked for clothes which were presented to them instantly as he recognised Almighty in them and similarly a flower vendor accosted them with humility and garlanded the boys; the brothers blessed  them with prosperity and family welfare. While crossing a high road, they witnessed a hunch back Girl named Trivakra, carrying a tray of perfumes to the King’s Court and while conversing with her, Krishna pulled her up and straightened her body to convert her as a normal person; the feat was witnessed by many onlookers as a sample miracle. They visited the Bow Arena where the Sacrifice was to be done the day next and broke the ‘Indra Dhanush’ with ease even as a contingent of soldiers protested and fought.On the day next, the Arena of Wrestling was agog with exhilaration, when Krishna and Balaram entered the place, the mighty elephant Kuvalayapida was shattered in a jiffy. Later they participated in the Wrestling Tournament where Charura, Mustika, Kutha, Sala and Tosala were smashed. There were cheers alround but seeing the other wreslers running away, Kamsa was outraged and sougt to kill the boys himself with his sword. The mystery Boys flew across to the Stage and devastated Kamsa like two ferocius lions tearing a lamb. There was a furore in the assembly and Kamsa’s eight brothers headed by Kanka and Nyagrodhaka were crushed  too. The Invincible Lords Krishna and Balarama opened the prison gates of their parents and touched their feet, as they were stunned and went into a trance. The Boys paid their obeisances profusely and told them:‘Yas tayor atmajah Kalpa-atmanacha dhanenucha-vrittim na dadyat tam pretha-Sva mamsam khadyanti hi’ (A son, though able to do so, fails to provide for his parents with his physical resources and wealth is forced after his death to eat his own flesh). They further said: Sarvartha sambhava deho-janitho poshito Yatah- na tayor yati nirvesam-pitror martyah satayushya ( As one’s body is acquired by parents, the goals of life are fulfilled since their parents gave birth and sustenance; therefore no mortal man can repay his debts enen if he lives for hundred lives). Vasudeva’s son Ugrasena was coronated as the King of Mathura and the Second Birth Celebrations of the Boys was performed ‘Thread Ceremony or Yagnopavitha and Gayatri) and relatives and relations were invited. Indeed they missed the presence of their foster parents Nanda and Yashoda as also the inhabitants of Gokul and Brindavan, especially the sprightly Gopikas.
Krishna and Balarama visited their Spiritual Teacher Sandipa Muni who resided at Avanti           ( Ujjain) was visited bringing immense joy to the Muni. They offered give ‘Guru Dakshina’ for the Studies of Dhanur Veda, Martial Arts and War Tactics.The Muni asked for their son dead in the Ocean at Prabhasa as he was devoured by a Demon Panchajanya ( who had the shape of  a conch shell). As the son of the Guru was not in the Demon’s stomach, they reached ‘Samyamani’ the Abode of Yamadhararaja and brought the dead boy alive. Thus Krishna and Balarama gave Guru Dakshina to Sandipa Muni. There after they visited Uddhava, their childhood friend and nephew, requested him to visit the Vraja places and meet their parents and well wishers as also the Gopikas and narrate to them an account of their activities at Mathura.Uddhava on reaching the Places met them all, and narrated the happenings. He returned back, after an emotional and tearful send-off with return messages from all of them, especially Gopikas.
                          The two Queens of the deceased Kamsa, Asti and Prapthi, approached their father Jarasandha, the highly powerful Monarch of Magadha and asked for retribution for the ‘misdeeds’ of Balarama and Krishna. With a huge army under him, Jarasandha attacked Mathura with some twenty three Akshouhinis of infantry, cavalry and elephantry and challenged Krishna and Balarama.The Lords shattered the massive opponents even as they had a minor number; and made sure that only Jarasandha be spared so that he would return back to regroup his men and material. Indeed he returned back again and again, getting routed for seventeen times.When Jarasandha was expected to attack for the eighteenth time, -Yavanas, the Mleccha  foreign forces- headed by Kalayavana attacked Mathura with thirty million barbarian soldiers of desperation and cruelty.  Krishna and Balarama felt that while they would fight with Yavanas, Jarasandha’s army might simultaneously harm Yadus. Thus they planned to build a new place, named Dvaraka (with  twelve Gates) and asked Visvakarma, the Architect of  Devatas who created a beautiful and well structured fortress City touching the Sea. By means of His mystic Yoga Maya ( Power of Illusion), the Citizens of Mathura got transferred, lock-stock and barrel-overnight to Dvaraka and found themselves in luxurious  palaces. Even as  Balarama was defending Mathura, Krishna attracted the attention of Kalayavana, passing singly by foot, by the Main Gate of Mathura. Kalayavana followed Krishna closely but always unreachable with some distance apart and led the Mlechha into a mountain cave.Thinking that Krishna Himself assumed a new ‘Rupa’( Body) as an old and haggardly person in the cave as Krishna was known for such powers, Kalayavana kicked the old man fast asleep. Indeed He was not Krishna but Muchukunda, the son of Mandhata of Ikshvaku dynasty.He was the defender of Demi-Gods from Daityas for long but since Lord Kartikeya became the Commander of Demi- Gods, the latter relieved Muchukunda of his duties and Kartikeya advised him of retirement and since then he was sleeping in the cave, unaware of hundreds of years passed by! By his very looks of fire, Muchukunda converted Kalayavana into ashes as per Indra’s benediction that if anybody disturbed his slumber would be burnt to ashes! Subsequently Krishna granted a wish to Muchukunda to be reborn as a Sage from his Kshatriya’s current birth. Muchukunda exited from the cave into a World new from what he knew and realised that Kali Yuga was on the anvil, as the size of humans, animals, birds and trees was reduced considerably. He proceeded to Gandhamadana mountain and reached Nara-Narayana Ashram and meditated for the rest his life. Meanwhile, Krishna and Balarama found Mathura under the seige of Yavanas and with their Chief Kalayavana was missing found themselves shattered by a handful of Yadava soldiers and of course by Krishna and Balarama. The jewellery and wealth plundered by the dead Yavanas, being carried to Dvaraka by the Yadavas was intercepted by Jarasandha. Krishna and Balaram took to their heels ( as Jarasandha was not destined to die in their hands). When chased to a mountain named Pravarshana , Jarasandha put the mountain top afire by his soldiers and felt that the two might have been burnt. [Jarasandha took to prison a number of  Kings at Yudhishtar’s Rajasuya Yaga since they agreed to Krishna becoming the Chief Guest; subsequently when Krishna, Bhima and Arjun visited Jarasandha’s Palace in disguise as Bramanas to free the Kings, the three of them challenged him for a duel with any one of them and Bhima was chosen.. Jarasandha was not getting killed for many days and Krishna hinted to tear  Jarasandha’s body by cutting branch of a tree and throwing up the pieces upside down in opposite directions. This was because a Rishi blessed  King Brihadhratha ( father of Jarasandha) for a child with a fruit which was cut into two half pieces and distributed to two of his wives, but they delivered a child in two pieces; the child was united by putting the two pieces of their body upside down by a Demoness named Jara and hence the name was Jara-sandha. After Bhima killed Jarasandha, some 21,000 Kings, defeated in wars and imprisoned, were liberated.]

Rukmini abducted by Lord Krishna

Suka Maha Muni then narrated the exciting Story to King Parikshith about Lord Krishna’s abduction of Rukmini and their wedding. Rukmini the elder daughter of Bhishmaka, King of Vidarbha and  the elder brother Rukmi fancied Krishna to be her husband since her childhood. Krishna too had a longing for her.But Rukmi convinced his father that Sisupala the King of Chedi was the most suitable bridegroom for her. As this was not agreeble to Rukmini despite the pressure of Rukmi and her father, she sent a faithful Brahmana emissary with a confidential note to Krishna, requesting Him to abuct her preceding her Wedding with Sisupala, just after her scheduled worship at the ‘Gouri Puja’at the Girija Temple.
At the Wedding Ceremony, the Guest List included the Kings like Salva, Jarasandha, Dantavakra and Lord Krishna too. Fearing that Krishna, who proposed earlier to wed Rukmini, might create trouble at the Function, Rukmi as well as Sisupala prepared for any eventuality alerting their Armies;  Salva, Jarasandha, and other well wisheres too readied their armies too. So did Balarama. Precisely when the Bride entered the Wedding Stage, Krishna took away Rumini like a surprise flash and both of them fled away in the Chariot of Krishna with the flag of Garuda atop.The armies of Sisupala and asscociates could hardly prevent the Glorious Abduction. Rukmi was unable to bear the insult and followed Krishna’s chariot but  was defeated and his moustache and beard were shorn by Krishna as a symbol of His victory. Subsequently, King Bhishmaka performed the wedding most appropriately. Pradyumana was born to Rukmini and Krishna and the son looked exactly like Krishna. When he was hardly ten days old, Demon Sambara kidnapped the child and knowing that he was the son of Krishna threw him in the Sea as a huge fish ate him but was safe in its belly. A fisherman caught hold of the big fish and presented it to the King Sambara who in turn gave it to Mayavati the head cook and cut it  to find an attractive baby inside.Narada appeared and revealed the Story to Mayavati of Lord Rudra turning ‘Manmadha’( Cupid) into ashes when he and Rati  (Cupid’s wife) aimed Floral Arrows. Lord Rudra gave boons that in their next birth,Cupid would be born as Lord Krishna’s son Pradyumna and Mayavati as Rati.As Pradyumna grew as a youngman, Mayavati desired to marry him despite wide difference of age. Pradyumna was popularly known as ‘Vyuha’ as the Lord of Intelligence, along with three of His other names viz Vasudeva ( Lord of Consciousness); Sankarshana (Lord of Individuality) and Aniruddha (Lord of Intelligence).Eventually Pradyumna killed Sambara, married Mayavati and stayed with Rukmini and Krishna at Dvaraka.

Samantaka Mani ( Jewel), Satyabhama and Jambavati Secured
Maha Muni Suka narrated another episode to King Parikshith about double weddings to Krishna in a sequence. King Satrajit was an ardent devotee of Lord Surya and blessed him with a fantastic jewel, known as ‘Syamantaka Mani’ providing not only dazzling light like Sun God himself , but also yields eight ‘bharas’( approx. ten Kg) of gold daily. Satrajit was overwhelmed with this incredible gift and desired to share the joy with Krishna whom he visited at His abode. Jokingly, Krishna asked Satrajit to spare the jewel for some time and was promptly declined.

Satrajit’s brother, Prasena, wore the rare jewel and visited hunting to a forest. A lion killed him and ‘ Jambavanta’ the illustrious Bear of Ramayana killed the lion in turn and took it to his cave to let his baby play with it. As Prasena did not return from the forest for a few days, Satrajit asked Krishna whether he knew any thing about Prasena as he did not return back.There were stray doubts expressed in the neighbourhood about Krishna’s credibility in the context. Krishna desired to vindicate His position and proceeded to the forest visited by Prasena and found his dead body and also that of a lion. He traced the foot steps of an animal to a cave and found a baby playing with the jewel. A huge bear entered and a fierce battle ensued for days together. As Krishna defeated the Bear, he felt that an ordinary human being could not be invincible against him and eventually recognised Krishna as another incarnation of Lord Rama or Lord Vishnu Himself. Intensive prayers were made by Jambavan and with humility and devotion he returned to Krishna the precious jewel as also offered his beautiful daughter Jambavati in wedding. On return from the forest, Krishna returned the jewel to Satrajit, who felt humiliated by suspecting Krishna and as an atonement returned the Jewel and requested Him to accept Satyabhama too as His spouse. Subsequently there were five other marriages by Krishna  to Kalindi, Mitravinda, Satya, Lakshmana and Bhadra, besides of course, Rukmini, Satyabhama and Jambavati.
On  hearing the unbelievable news that ‘Pancha Pandavas’ and mother Kunti were burnt  in a Lac house constructed for them by King Dhritarashtra at the instance of ‘Dushta Chatushtaya’
(the Four Villians of Kauravas) –indeed Krishna knew that He arranged their safe exit from the House- Krishna and Balarama  left for Hastinapura to personally convey their condolences to the elders of Kuru Vamsa. Taking the advantage of their absence, Evil minded Satadhanvu, as instigated by Akrura and Kritavarma, killed Satrajit in sleep and stole the Syamantaka Jewel. Satyabhama was horrified at her father’s demise and rushed to Hastinapuram to ask the Yadu brothers at once. As Satadhanvu and his instigators trembled at the news of the return of the brothers, Satadhanva kept the invaluable Jewel to the personal care of Akrura and fled fast for his life. Krishna and Balarama chased and killed the culprit but the Jewel was not recovered. Krishna  returned to Dvaraka for the obsequies of Satrajit, while Balarama suspected Akrura and recovered from Akrura’s dead body.

The destruction of Narakasura ( Bhaumika)

The end of notorious Bhaumika, the son of Bhumi ( Demi-Goddess of Earth), is celebrated till date on the moon fall day preceding Kartika Month of eyery year as ‘Deepavali’(The Festival of Lights). Krishna, accompanied by Satyabhama flew by Garuda to ‘Pragjyotisha’, Capital City of Bhaumasura [now in Assaam] , surrounded by mountains and  ramparts defended by  fire, water and unmanned automatic weapons as also protected by ‘Mura Pasha’- thousand miles-long deadly and sturdy wires as designed by  Demon Mura

Krishna shattered the defence buttresses and blew His Panchajanya (Conch shell) with deadening reverberation as Demon Mura’s frontal fortification was destroyed. When provoked, the Demon tossed his powerful club which was slashed by Krishna’s Sudarsana Chakra into pieces and devastated Mura. Seven deadly sons of Mura, who had the knowledge of weapons as fully as their father, pounced in a group but Krishna’s Supreme powers were no match and they too were cracked. Bhaumasura shot at his ‘Sataghni’- the powerful disc with hundred blades- and later on with his mighty spear with which he defeated Indra too both of which proved futile. Finally Krishna gave His nod to Sudarsana Chakra (Wheel) to pull down the Demon and exterminate him.Thus Bhaumasura was sent to ‘Naraka’and hence his ignominious title as Narakasura.[Another version is that the Demon was arrowed down by Satyabhama herself, as he secured a blessing from Lord Brahma that only his mother Goddess of Earth ( Bhumi) could kill him; Satyabhama was the reincarnation of  Goddess Earth . It was at Indra’s distress call that received Krishna’s attention as Varuna’s Royalty Insignia, a Mother- Figure Aditi’s earrings, and ‘Mani Parvata’( Mandara Mountain) where Demi-Gods reside were among the abominable acts of the Demon. As a gesture of good-will, Satyabhama’s desire to transfer the ‘Parijata’ Tree (which emerged in the churning process of Ocean) to her garden from the Heaven was obliged by Indra. Krishna on His part released sixteen thousand royal maidens of Kings defeated by Bhaumasura and consented to marry them, in addition to the eight principal wives. Goddess Earth sought her apology for her son’s sins and reiterate her own devotion to Krishna.

Aniruddha’s wedding with Usha

Banasura, the grand son of the famed King Bali who gave the entire Universe in charity in lieu of three feet to Lord Vamana, was the father of daughter Usha who fell in love with Aniruddha, the son of Pradyumna and the grand son of Lord Krishna. Banasura was a dedicated devotee of Lord Siva, and the Lord awarded several invaluable benedictions to the Demon including powerful war weapons and thousand hands to relase the armaments simultaneously. Learning of the romance of his daughter with Aniruddha, the son of Pradyumana -the erstwhile Cupid who was burnt into ashes by Lord Siva’s third eye- and the grand son of Krishna (Avatar of Lord Vamana), Banasura quashed the wedding proposal.

Aniruddhha fought with Banasura as the latter tried to imprison Aniruddha. The fight led to Krishna and Siva face to face, as Banasura was an ardent devotee of Siva. Thus Aniruddha was pitted against Banasura, Pradyumna against Karthikeya, and Krishna against Siva. It appeared that this kind of situation was unprecedented. It also looked that the entire Universe was at a precipice, as mighty ‘Astras’ were exchanged and each one of them was sufficient to obliterate the Universe from existence.‘Brahmastra’ by Siva was replied by another ‘Brahmastra’ from Krishna; ‘Pasupatastra’ from Siva was balanced by ‘Narayanastra’ of Krishna.The entire episode was ridiculous as the Super Powers realised sooner than later. Siva in His humility praised Krishna. Maya, the illusion was apparently at work. After mutual realisation, the battle got terminated and a subdued Banasura requested Aniruddha to wed Usha.

Lord Krishna Kills Sisupala
At the invitation of King Yudhishtar to attend the Rajasuya Yagnam (Horse Sacrifice) being performed by Pandavas especially after the devastation of Jarasandha, Lords Krishna and Balarama arrived at Indraprastha, the new  beautiful Capital City, built by Maya. As a climax to the Celebrations, a function was held to select the best personality who graced the ‘Yagna’. Nobody wished to comment  but Sahadeva, the youngest of Pandavas, proposed the name of Krishna. There was a near total approval of the proposal and King Dharmaraja initiated the procedure by inviting priets and Sages.

Just at that time, King Sisupala, a great associate of Jarasandha since killed by Bhima, expressed displeasure at the selection of Krishna on the proposal of a mere boy, Sahadeva of Pandavas.He said that elders in age, experience, wisdom were available and there was no special qualification for Krishna excepting that He was a womaniser and a fraud, who ran away from Jarasandha twenty three times in succesive wars and his real capability in wars, duels, and dealings involving honesty and frankness were suspect. Sisupala critcised Krishna transgessing all limits of decency. Finally having counted the number of abuses hurled at Him, Krishna hurled His disc ‘Sudarsana Wheel to slit Sisupala’s neck.  Sisupala was the son of King Dhamaghosha and Srutadevi, the latter being the sister of Vasudeva whose son was Lord Krishna. In other words Krishna and Sisupala were cousins. When Sisupala was born, he was dark and ugly with three eyes and four hands. His parents had almost decided to disown him, but a voice from Heaven suggested not to do so as an Illustrious Person would soon fondle the child and snip out his extra limbs and he himself would also kill him.Krishna’s aunt Srutadevi requested Him to postpone the killing of the child as far as possible. Krishna promised that He would wait till his hundredth abuse. Incidentally, Sisupala and Dantavakra were stated to be the Demons of ‘Dwapara Yuga’ born after the curse of Sanaka Kumara brothers to the Vaikuntha Gate Keepers Jaya and Vijaya. As a sequel to Rajasuya  Yagna, there were two major developments: Firstly, the unbearable jealousy of Kauravas against Pandavas who became extremely prosperous and popular among the various contemporary Kings and worse than that, the extremely hurt pride of Duryodhana especially when Draupadi the wife of Pandava sons laughed out loudly when he fell straight into a water pool when he thought that there was no water but ground and when he lifted up his robes as there  was no ground but a water body. Secondly, the battles of Sisupala’s great friends-Salva, Dantavakra, Romaharshana, and Virutha  were in the offing against Yadavas . While the seeds of jealousy were firmly sown in Duryodhana’s mind leading to disastrous consequences for Pandavas thus leading to the Great Battle of Mahabharata, the destructive attempts by Sisupala’s friends were almost instant. Salva secured earlier an everlasting air-vehicle from Lord Siva because of deep devotion and landed at Dvaraka when Krishna and Balarama were away at Indraprastha and overpowered Pradyumna who fled from the battle, as Salva presented illusory heads of Krishna and Balaram to him.On return, the Lords shattered the airship and Salva too. Dantavakra and his sons Romaharshana and Viruddha met the same fate. Thus the chapter of  Sisupala’s death was closed. Simultaneously, the run-up to Mahabharata Battle at Kurukshatra was picking up fast as the foul play of Dices between Shakuni on behalf of Kaurava sons on the one hand and Dharmaraja on behalf of Pandavas.The Battle shaping as an inevitable consequence, Lord  Balarama being a neutral figure,especially since Duryodhana was his disciple and Krishna identified himself as Pandava’s well-wisher, proceeded on a pilgrimage to Holy Places.His visits covered several holy places including Prayaga, Ganga, Gaya, Godavari , Srisailam, Venkata Hills, Kanchi, Madurai, Kaveri River, Srirangam, Setubandhanam, Rameswaram and Kanya Kumari. He reached Kurukshetra at the time when Bhima and Duryodhana were engaged in a duel with maces as almost terminating the Great Battle.

Sudama, boyhood friend, honoured by Krishna

King Parikshith had a genuine marvel as to why, when and how the Supreme Power of Universe reaches out everywhere and anywhere to motivate the actions of each particle of Creation critically and objectively. Hereagain, the motive force of the ‘particle’ to act or not to act is provided by the Supreme Force Itself! In reply, Suka Muni narrated a story to exemplify as to how, each action of an entity is conditioned by the Supreme Force and why the entity concerned recieves its reward or punishment as the case might be.

A boyhood friend of Krishna , named Sudama was a poverty stricken Brahmana with genuine vedic knoweldge and piety and his faithful wife had for years dinned into his ears that he should call on the famed Ruler of Bhojas, Vrishnis and Andhakas at Dvaraka, viz. Krishna who was also popular for His actions of charity. When extreme poverty hurt him so much that it ignored false notions of shyness or shame, one day Sudama decided to visit Krishna finally.His wife borrowed a fistful of flat rice from neighbours that was hidden in a dirty cloth. In the City of Dvaraka, Sudama felt it was impossible to reach Krishna, but the latter found Sudama easily and took him home.Krishna and Rukmini- God and Goddess Lakshmi-provided a dreamlike treat of services to him, which by itself was tantamount to abundant Spiritual Bliss. Krishna took away forcefully the dirty cloth hidden with  the handful of flat rice as a gift to the Lord who ate half but Rukmini prevented eating the second half, presumably concerned of exceeding the benediction contemplated. Barring the display of friendship and exchange of nostalgic memories, Sudama returned back with empty hands and on way back felt satisfied fully with the experience, although was apprehensive of his wife’s possible reaction that he missed a golden opportunity! On reaching his home, Sudama was taken aback at the miracle that his wretched hut was transformed into a fulfledged Palace with heavenly luxuries! Muni Suka’s  explanation that the story of Sudama amply clarified the motivation of Super Force for every  action. His extreme poverty would have been a result of his previous karma or action, his piety and high dedication to Almighty was his action, and the end result was a fruit of his action too; in all these cases the subtle motivation was received by Almighty and none else.

Vedas – Sourcing Material par Excellence of Supreme Energy

While the narration of Lord Krishna’s spititual pastimes was in full swing, King Parikshith raised a genuine query to Suta Muni viz. while Holy Scriptures like Vedas which might well describe the features of material desires and the means of conquering them, could Vedas describe the features and actions of the Unknown Primeval Force which was firmly declared as indescribable! The cause and effect inter-play of material manifestations of Super  Force might thus be limited to that extent only  but the Unknown by Itself might continue to be elusive and mysterious.
Indeed the doubt was genuine and required attention. This philosophical exercise was cogitated and meditated upon by Ancient Sages for times immemorial. In this context, Narada approached Narayana Rishi who in turn got an explanation from the Kumara Brothers- Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanath. During the interregnum of the chain of destruction and creation of the Universe, Supreme Energy which was latent got revived ‘suo motto’ and was prompted by Vedas to reactivate the Creation of moving and non moving subordinate energies and also spread out the net of illusion (Maya) to combat the material energies! Vedas described the act of Creation by Supreme Energy as a sport between the material and spiritual potencies. The ancient Sages and Seekers conceived Super Energy as the clay with which the Universe was made of as multi faceted manifestation of the living entities.It was at the mercy of that Super Brahman, the unparrelled Source of Awareness, that the interaction of material and spiritual resources-  Maya versus  Maha Tatva-would be shaped. Those Seekers with lesser vision might worship the Supreme as present in the region of abdomen through the route of conquering material desires, while ‘Aranis’ or self starters percieve the Supreme at the region of heart upwards to head from where there would not be possibility of slippge to the level of falsity or Maya (Illusion). Thus gradual alignment of the self with Supreme Self would be the reply instead of allowing slippages to occur. Thus Narada was illuminated by Narayana Rishi about the Significance of Vedas as extensions of Supreme Energy as also the Sourcing Material for providing Spiritual Guidance to Universe.

Maha Vishnu’s ‘Darshan’( Vision) to Krishna and Arjuna
In the context of Narayana Rishi, the legend of Nara Narayana assumes significance.Once, Great Sages performed a Vedic Sacrifice on the banks of River Sarasvati. A controversy engaged their attention about the issue as to Who should be the most appropriate worthy of devotion among the Trinity of Gods-Brahma or Maheswar or Vishnu. They deputed Sage Bhrighu to the Trinity to personally ascertain the fact and verify.Bhrigu visited his father Brahma first and felt insulted since Brahma did not treat him as a Sage but as a son and hence did not stand and greet.
Siva no doubt embraced the Sage but he treated him only as a friend but not as a Sage. Later on, Bhrigu visited Vishnu who pretended to be busy with Maha Lakshmi initially (as the Sage kicked Him on His Chest where Lakshmi resides) but later on paid prayers, along with Lakshmi Devi.(In the process however Vishnu nipped Bhrigu’s exrta eyes on his body). Thus the Grand Congregation decided Vishnu as the Head of  the Trinty. Suta Maha Muni narrated the memorable episode in the life of Arjuna. A pious Brahmana in Dvaraka lost a just-born child and reconciled himself as fate. Then he lost another child too and further children also were lost in succession.As the ninth child was still born, the Brahmana was wailing loud on the road- side and Arjuna happened to passby.The Brahmana out of frustration and anger shouted harshly on Arjuna and said that each time a child was dead he approached  Ugrasena, Vasudeva, Balarama, Krishna, Pradyumna and others. But to no avail!Arjuna said that he would try to save the next child. He used his mystic powers, some of which secured from Indra as he was Arjuna’s son, and guarded the area with diligence and attention. Unfortunately the result was negative and the tenth child too met the same fate. Arjuna took his ‘Gandiva’( his own Bow and Arrows) with his full determination and travelled the entire Universe including the Planetery System and sub terrain lokas.As there was no clue yet, Arjuna decided to jump into Holy Fire pit as he could not keep up his promise to the Brahmana. Lord Krishna prevented him from doing so and asked Arjuna to join on His Chariot to ascertain as to what could have happened to the children of the Brahmana couple. They kept on going farther and farther till Krishna’s Chariot horses- Saibya, Sugriva, Meghapushpa, and Balahaka- lost their way as there was complete darkness. The Sudarsan Chakra cut through the darkness as its effulgence showed the way and as the radiance was almost blinding, they realised that it was the phenomenon of Brahma Jyothi, the unparrelled Vision. There lied the Ananta-the mammoth Serpent-with thousand hoods with gems radiating fantastic light; on top of the hoods was lying Maha Vishnu comfortably with eight arms with ornaments Viz. conch shell, disc, bow and arrows, mace, the Kaustubh Gem and so on, along with His personal attendants headed by Sunanda and Nanda, His cohorts Pushti, Sri, Kirti and Aja and all His Mystic Powers. In such resonant and vibrant voice, Lord Maha Vishnu said that He was awaiting the arrival of Krishna and Arjun in search of the Brahmana boys who were purposively brought over there. Maha Vishnu asked Krishna and Arjuna to return after their assignments were over in their births, so that they should spread the message of Dharma (Virtue).

Bhasmasura over-smarted by Lord Vishnu and burnt as ashes
As though to confirm the selection of Lord Vishnu as the Superior of the Triumverate, Suka Muni narrated the happening of Lord Siva’s saving by Lord Vishnu. Accompanied by the Supreme Feminine Power ‘Shakti’, Lord Siva is an embodiment of Three kinds of Material Senses (Characteristics) or three ‘Gunas’of Sattva (Emotion), Rajas (Authority) and Tamas (Ignorance). Thus Siva’s reactions are instantaneous either as condemnations or blessings.
On a spur of the moment that Lord Siva took the decision of giving away a boon to Vrikasura (Bhasmasura), the son of Sakuni-one of the Epic Villains of Mahabharata. The boon was that who ever touched the Demon’s hand would be burnt to ashes! The Demon desired to experiment the efficacy of the boon by touching Lord Siva’s Head itself! Lord Siva had to take to heels to save His own Head; he fled to various Demi-Gods and Lord Brahma. Finally, He reached Vaikuntha and Lord Vishnu seeing the gravity of the situation, created a Brahmana Student by His Mystic Maya ( Illusion) who met the Demon gasping for breath as he was running and chasing  Lord Siva. The Brahmachari stopped Vrikasura and asked him about the problem. The Boy said that whatever was assured from Lord Siva was fake as His earlier boons  were never correct  and the various boons of invincibility or deathlessness given to Demons were all futile as they were all killed any way. Even in the instant case, Lord Siva’s boon would be a failure too. As a proof, the demon himself could put his hand on his head, the Brahmachari said. As a result, Bhasmasura was thus tricked and as soon as his hands were kept on his head, he was burnt to ashes. This ugly situation was thus avoided for Lord Siva.

Great Rishis cursed ‘Yadu Vamsa’ to be destroyed

Taking a review of the substantial decrease of Earth’s burden by way of innumerable killings of Evil Forces eversince Lord Krishna and Balarama were born and right from the stage of wily Poothana’s obliteration, the Lords had a somewhat hesitant view in the context whether certain clans like those of Yadus were worthwhile continuing in existence. As a clan, the members were mere shadows without the Two of them, as after their exit from the earth was to take place sooner or later, the dynasty of Yadavas would be burden to the Earth!
As though reflecting these views, some of the Yadu boys were playing at a pilgrimage centre, named Pindarika, as highly illustrious Sages were passing by. Out of mischief, one of the boys dressed up as a pregnant woman and approached the Sages whether the ‘woman’ would deliver a male or female. The Great Rishis cursed the Yadu boys that the ‘woman’ would deliver neither a boy nor a girl but an iron club (a mace). The boys reported this incident to King Ugrasena who was afraid of the consequences.After scraching away the iron into pieces the remnants were thrown into the Sea and a fish swallowed the remainder iron lump and a hunter who caught the fish made an arrow with its pointer-end with the iron lump. In course of time following the curse, all the important personalities shifted to Prabasa Kshetra and the rest who remained back at Dvaraka destroyed each other themselves. . [Prabhasa is a holy place near Veraval Railway Station in the Junagadh region in Gujarat]

Nine Yogindras provide replies to Maharaja Nimi to Spiritual queries
Once Maharaja Nimi, son of Ikshvaku desired to perform a Sacrifice and requested Vasishtha to be the Head Priest, but Vasishtha was busy performing another Sacrifice for Indra and therefore asked Nimi to wait till he returned. But Nimi performed the Sacrifice without waiting for Vasishtha, who cursed Nimi, but Nimi too gave a curse to the Sage. As a result of the curses, both of them were dead, but  as Mitra and Varuna desired Urvasi in lust and from their thoughts of lust revived Vasishtha.

As regards, Nimi Maharaja, his body was preserved till the completion of the Sacrifice which was already in progress and once the Yagna was over, the Brahmanas requested Demi Gods to revive  his body already preserved. Nimi did not opt for the revival of the physical body but his spiritual body continued to exist. It was that spirirual body of Nimi, known as King Videha ( without physical Body) performed Soma-Yagnya and was blessed with the presence of Nine Yogindras viz. Kavi, Havir, Anthariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayna, Havirhotra, Drumila, Chamasa and Karabhanjana.( Their lineage was: Swayambhu Manu or Priyamvrata- Agnidhara-Nabhi-Rishabhadeva considered as the Plenary expansion of Lord Narayana Himself- one hundred sons, headed by Bharata of BharataVarsha fame, including the Nine Yogindras). The Nine Yogindras, who were highly learned in Spiritual Science preaching the path of attaining Absolute Truth travelling naked all over the Universe, explained the Principles of Seeking the Truth to King Nimi alias Videha and those who attended  the Sacrifice.The pointed queries made to the Nine Yogindras by King Nimi ( Videha) were: 1)What is the highest good? 2) What are the Principles of Dharma and the general inclinations conditioning human beings like ‘Svabhava’ (one’ own nature or behavior), Acharya’ (Tradition), Speech pattern and other lakshanas’ (Traits) of Elevated human beings? 3) What is the external energy of Super Power? 4) How does one disassociate from Maya or Illusion? 5) How is a Brahmana (Devotee) identified? 6) What is ‘Karma’ (means of devotion) and its two major forms viz. materialistc or Spiritual (Kamuka or seeking oriented and Nishkama or Oriented to Almighty only) 7) What are the various Incarnations /Extensions of God? 8) What is the destination of a non-devotee? 9) What are the ideal forms of worship suited to the four ages (Yugas)? Yogindras explained that relentless pursuit of material desires, arising out of ignorance and leading to fear as conditioned by one’s own nature and nurture, tends to sideline or marginalise the Super Energy and Its Extension Forms or Incarnations aimed at the Four Yugas and even if a human being were to perform acts of devotional services these would invariably aim at desire-fulfilling ends and not Spiritually oriented. This vicious circle of cause and effect ought to be wrecked to yield to the path of Bhagavatha Dharma or the Discipline of Faith. Increase in the duration of devotional time, gradual detachment, and enhancement of Awareness of the Super Energy are the Golden Means required.

Yogindras on Incarnations of Nara Narayan, Dattatreya and Hayagreeva
Yogindras also described the incarnations of Maharshis Nara Narayana and Datthatreya and their activities. Nara Narayana were born to Murthi, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati and Dharma who was born from the right breast of Lord Brahma. Indra was apprehensive that the Maharshi might not sidelight him and was infact afraid that he might as well usurp Heavens and as such sent Apsaras to Nara Narayana to spoil their meditation.
Smilingly, the Maharshi despatched the Demi- Gods and Apsaras with a few gifts and Indra, who by then learnt of as Narayana’s own Extension by Narada, reached the Maharshi of the sin that he performed and sought His blessings. Dattathreya, son of Atri Maha Muni was another incarnation of Super Energy that Yogindras made a special mention as the Ultimate Yogi and an ‘Avadhuta’who was least concerned with clothes or even physical cleanliness and considered as an Amalgam of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. He was a mystic mendicant travelling far and wide with His cow and four dogs and a Master of Vedas and of high-level ‘Tantra’practice. He was the pioneer of ‘Kaanphota nathpanthi’or mystics with split-ears opposing Universal applicability of  Moral Discipline. He had such illustrious followers like Goraknath and Matsyendranath. He also opposed Yoga for purposes other than for elevation of the self with the Supreme, known as Non-Yoga. Yet another incarnation of Vishnu, Hayagreeva, as the Horse Head by killing the demon ‘Madhu’ who stole Vedas, when at the end of His Day fell asleep and the Vedas were stolen.The Lord assumed the form of a Giant Fish and retrieved the Vedas from the depths of the Ocean. [Avataras are of two kinds: Vibhuti Avataras and Saakshath Avatars. Among the latter type are : Purusha, Lila,Guna, Manvantara,Yuga and Sakti-Avesa Avataras. The Avataras could be of temporary nature (‘Vaibhava)’like Mohini, Vyasa, and Hamsa types or everlasting Avatars-‘Prabhava’ Avatars- like Rama, Krishna etc.Also there are three Vishnu Avataras viz. Karanodakasayi (Maha Vishnu),Garbodhakasayi (Pradyumna) and Kshirodakasayi (Aniruddha). Further, there are Bhaktavesha ( Kapila Muni or Rishabha Muni) or Saktyavesh Avataras (Sesha Naga:Swa Seva Sakti; Ananta Deva (Bhudharana Sakti; Brahma: Srishti Sakti; Kumars:Gyana  Sakti; Narada : Bhakti Sakti; and Parasurama:Dushta Damana Sakti and King Pruthu : Palana Sakti.

Uddhava, a highly dedicated Devotee of Lord Sri Krishna, had the unique privilege of His teachings popularly known as Uddhava Gita, in the post- Prabhasa Yatra period and retirement of Yadu Leaders at the ‘Prabhasa Kshetra’. Krishna conveyed that as a curse of Sages to some mischievous boys of the Yadu Vamsa, the entire dynasty would soon perish due to mutual fightings and that was why the Yadu elders preferred peaceful end of their lives

The Lord said that at the express request of Brahma that He to take to mortal life for the defined purpose of reviving Dharma (Virtue) and destroying the Evil and it was time to return to His Abode Vaikuntha thus ending His Incarnation along with His Plenary Part as Balarama. Seven days hence, the Ocean would submerge the City of Dvaraka and its inhabitants. In such critical situations only when close members of a family perished and acute pain was caused that a person realised the futility of existence and the way in which material forces outweighed against the will of God; even minimal attention to the Almighty would have lightened the heavy mental strain to counter attachments created Maya the Illusion.

Avadhuta secured inspiration from Nature

In this context, the Lord quoted a Brahmana ‘Avadhuta’ who visited King Yadu and told him that in a state of complete aloofness from the Society, one could learn great lessons from Nature (The Five Elements of Earth, Sky, Fire, Wind and Water), from Sun and Moon, as also from his personal experiences of a pigeon, python, Sea, moth, honeybee, honey thief, fish, elephant, deer, a prostitute Pingala, kurara bird, child, girl, arrow maker, serpent, spider and wasp. The Avadhuta said that Spiritual Science was learnt in totality from these twenty four teachers as to how one could and should learn the art of detachment and align the self with ‘Paramatma’.

From Earth, he learnt the lesson of patience, service to and welfare of others. From Air, he learnt, maintenance of human body by its vital energy, without carrying the aromas or the foul smell of surroundings and also without  disturbing devotion to Almighty. Like the sky which is anywhere without being entangled with material attractions, the Avadhuta learnt keeping universal attractions away even in the thick of happenings. The Sky again is immune from the clouds, storms, mighty rains and floods and thus the Avadhuta learnt the knack of being calm without deviating from the target of the Supreme Energy. From Water, he learnt the washing of physical impurities and thereby ensuring cleanliness within. Fire taught the Avadhuta a whole lot of lessons ranging from cooking wholesome and simple food, illumination, worship by Homams, and burning of ‘Shatvargas’ – the six enemies of anger, desire, selfishness, attachment, meanness and jealousy. Moon taught the waxing and waning phases till eternity, cures diseases of body and brain and provides solace and peace to troubled humans, ideal for Spiritual  devotion.. Moon and Sun, being the Superior Evidences of every-being irrespective of Time, taught the Brahmana an inexplicable presence of Almighty. From Sun, the Avadhuta learnt the tendency to give rains to and absorb water from Earth and thus give away material senses and absorb spiritual energies at appropriate timings. A pigeon leading  peaceful family life developed excessive affection to wife and kids and as a hunter trapped the babies in a net while the parents searched food, the mother returned and got trapped too. Not able to overcome the pangs of attachment, the father pigeon volunteered into the net. Intense family attachments and extreme sex ruined the pigeon. An example of  python waiting patienly for food for days together be emulated instead of being a glutton;  Like the exterior of   Sea,  the outward appearance might look normal but  be deep and fathomless without self importance. Unlike the rivers rushing into the Ocean in rainy season or presenting a dried up look in Summer, Oceans are always of same level and thus the lesson would be to practise equanimity and composure. The Avadhuta learnt from a moth, not to rush into flames of material attractions as a lusty person loses mental balance if a glamorous woman found his way. A honeybee taught a lesson to the Brahmana to collect essence of  Scriptures  flying from flower to flower, but not to store honey in a beehive to be taken away by a bee-hive keeper . Lessons were received by a deer attracted to the sweet music of horn by curiosity and getting caught by a hunter; a fish attracted to a  bait of a net of the fisher man; an elephant desirous of mating a she- elephant and getting killed by more powerful elephants in competition ; a prostitute named Pingala changing bed mates for money and finally realising the folly as more honourable means of earning were available without spoiling her physical health and possibly achieving far greater enjoyment by devotion to Almighty; a weak hawk with a  meat piece but getting rid of it as attacked by stronger hawks giving momentary happiness by the riddance of the meat piece ; a happy Child  without anxitey and freedom comparable to that of an Avadhuta; a young girl husking rice, by removing bracelets with conch-shell bells on her hands to save noise and embarrassment in the presence of visitors thus using her common sense; an arrow maker making arrows with tremendous concentration to attain perfection of his job, even as the King of the land was passing by and watching beside him; a snake entering an anthill built by others by cleverness; a spider weaving out threads from its own mouth, expanding them, playing with them for a while, catching flies or other preys and finally destroying the threads indicating its playfulness and patience reflecting Almighty’s own example of creation, expansion and destruction-a typical cycle of births and deaths; and finally by an example of a wasp  which entered into a larva’s (insect’s) hive and the insect which was hiding in the hive for long time in meditation took the form and features of the wasp itself, signifying that a human being too could transform into the features of Almighty. These were the lessons that the Avadhuta absorbed from Nature; some by way of resisting temptations from material forces, some by absorbing the means of overcoming material attractions and others by attaining unity or oneness with the Supreme Energy!  Detachment and devotion are the two watchwords of existence as stated by the Avadhuta who was Lord Dattatreya Himself! This was disclosed to the King of Yadu at the end by Dattatreya, told Krishna to Uddhava.

Detachment: Varasrama Dharma, Vidhis and Niyamas- Above all ‘Satsanga’
Continuing His preachings to Uddhava, Lord Krishna defined the Practice of Detachment by way of Nivrutti or Pravrutti routes. Nivrutthi Marg would call for total abstinence and alignment of Self and the Supreme and Pravrutti Marg is by way of existence in the midst of material attractions controlled however by Regulative Principles, ie.’Varnasrama Dharma’  depending on a fourfold classification of Society -the Division being based on Profession, Vocation and their practice or aptitude

[The Veda Base referring to the aspect of ‘practice or aptitude concepts’of the Varnasrama Dharma is:
Yasya yallakshanam proktum
/ pumso Varnabhivyanjakam /
yad anyaprapti drusyata /
tat teniva vinirdisat. ( Srimad Bhagavata Canto7, Chapter 11, Stanza: 35),
 meaning there by:If one reveals symptoms of being a Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya or Sudra even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification, regardless of birth.] Besides Varnasrama Dharma, the Regulative Principles prescribe ‘Vidhis’ or Moral Injunctions like refrain from meat eating ( Ahimsa or non-violence and compassion for co-living beings), consumption of intoxicants ( Purity consciousness), illicit sex (faithfulness/ loyalty), and gambling ( acquisition/austerity and sobriety). The Regulating Principles  also prescribe certain optional ‘Niyamas’ or restraining / preventive measures viz. Internal and external cleanliness ( Bahyantara Suchi), Doing the Rosary ( ‘Japam’), penance (meditation), austerity, sacrifice, dependability, hospitality, worship to Almighty; Visits to Temples; and contentment. ( Sage Patanjali’s Sutras or Eight fold Observances are : ‘Saucham’   ( Purity), Tapas ( Penance), ‘Swadhyaya’ or Study, ‘Santosha’ ( Contentment), ‘Danam’ Charity) and ‘Eswara Pranadanam’ ( Dedication to Almighty). Akin and ancilliary to Vidhis and Niyamas, Lord Krishna highlighted certain Moral and Spiritual Values viz. humility, false prestige, laziness, possesiveness, indulgence, narrow mindedness, immaturity and ignorance arising out of lack of knowledge. To enable one’s  leading to the path of righteouseness, Lord Krishna underlined the guidance of a trustworthy Teacher or Guide. But despite all the efforts and access to appropriate Spiritual knowledge, the hard fact still would remain that factors beyond human control like Time, Situations, placements in one’s own life, societal compulsions, locational contexts and the apparent sensitivities of disease, old age, birth and death chain  and the like and as such one  should atleast control the manageable factors as per the Regulative Principles prescribed. The main reason for this Minimum Programme would be that a very valuable human birth available with difficulty now might not be surefire or guarateed after the termination of the current one. Any postponement of the Exercise from one stage of existence to another would simply be hazardous since already the process commenced from Stage One of Life and would hardly suffice one’s complete life span; hence the stress on the obvious before the end as death is certain while life expectancy is not. Lord Krishna gave the example of two parrots on the same tree, one on a spree of plundering  the fruits  and another denying the experience to itself.The intelligent one not getting tempted was like the person strong in restraint and caution. A discreet person never assumed ownership of an action as in the case of first person pronoun, ‘I’, but as a result of the sense objects arising out of modes of Nature.Like the Sky, Sun or Wind, the person with self-realisation never confused Illusion for Reality. He is never angry or provoked, never negligent of worship and ‘Satsanga’ (Company of the virtuous and devoted), soft natured, equal minded, non possessive, respectful of others, compassionate and a conquerer of ‘Shat Guna’( hunger, thirst, pain, illusion, old age and death). Krishna thus identified the detached person.At the same time, an ideal human being worships Sun through  ‘Surya Namaskaras’, Fire (Agni) through Sacrifices, Water for purification, ‘Vayu’ ( Air) for breath control by ‘puraka’ ( inhaling), Rechaka (Exhaling) and ‘Kumbhaka’( retaining) and ‘Gayatri’ Mantra  and finally attain heights of nearness to ‘Paramatma’.
Having elaborated the Concept of detachment thus, Lord Krishna laid immense stress ‘Satsanga’ (Union of Devotee and Krishna)  as the most effective conduit to  Himself. He stated that the way that Satsanga would lead to Himself, no other means like mysticism or ‘AshtangaYoga’, reading Scriptures, penances, Sacrifices, pilgrimages, Charity and such pious acts. Not only Demi-Gods and superior Class Celestial Beings, Sages and Godmen but even Demons, Low Category Humans, and even the wild species have all used the means of Satsang and achieved ‘Mukti’ (Salvation) from Me. Uddhava was therefore given the considered preaching that moral and spiritual warnings and rituals would all be replaced by intense effort to forge the oneness of the self and the Supreme. Krishna compared life with a tree emerging from two seeds,  (Sin and Purity), hundreds of roots ( living entities), three patterns of ‘Gunas ( behavior)-Satva, Rajas and Tamas (Goodness, Passion and Ignorance), five upper trunks (Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky); five lower trunks or sense organs (sound, touch, taste, smell and vision) and eleven ‘Karmendrias’(Hands, legs,eyes,ears, mouth,nose, Genitals) and mind. There are two birds, viz. Jiva (human) and Paramatma ( Krishna) and two fruits of misery and happiness, one opts for materialism and  another like a Swan endeavours for eternal bliss.When Brahma’s sons asked Almighty in the form of  Hamsa (Swan) :‘Who are you’?; Hamsa’s reply was ‘We are five-the FiveElements!’.When Kumaras asked asked the Swan once again, the reply was ‘We are two ; And That Is One Only’ ! This indeed is the Eternal Truth and that again is the Essence of ‘Satsang’or the Company of One, not of Two!

The Vedic Routes of Achieving the Union
As  Lord Krishna having firmly established the Concept of ‘Satsang’or the Attainment of Oneness, Devotee Uddhava desired to ascertain the efficacy of the Vedic Routes leading to the same goal. After all, various rivers lead to the Ocean finally! Hence, Uddhava requested the Lord about the Practice of ‘Yoga’ for Mystic ‘Siddhis’, ‘Bhakti Yoga’ and Idol Worship, ‘Jnana Yoga’( Power of Knowledge) and finally ‘Sanyasa Yoga’( Total Renunciation or ‘Sat or Truth’ plus ‘Nyasa’or Alliance). Perfection of Yoga for securing Mystic ‘Siddhis’ is one route which ought not to be misused except for Union with the Supreme.
There are eighteen such Siddhis of which a yoga perfectionist aligns with Almighty by eight of them and the rest ten are to be utilised for the good of humanity: Three of the  eight Siddhis are ‘Anima’ to transform theYogi’s body as the smallest unit to enable it to worship in God’s smallest form; ‘Mahima’ to worship Him in the Gross form by assuming the Yogi’s body as the largest; and ‘laghima’ to worship in Him in his lightest form and convert the Yogi’s form as the lightes.The rest of five are: ‘Prapti’to acquire fixation of mind against material forces, ‘Parakamya’ to experience whatever is desired to be seen or heard; ‘Isita’ to control ‘Gunas’ (features) of Satvik, Rajas and Tamas  and ‘Isita’ to secure the vision of the Lord, and ‘Kamavasita’ to obtain Supreme Happiness in worship to Him. Another ten Siddhis are freedom from hunger and thirst, distant hearing and vision (Doora Drishti and Sravanam), moving body as fast as mind, death as per wish, assuming any form as desired, witnessing pastimes of demi-Gods, accomplishment of desires by self, fulfilment of others’ orders  or as per the wishes of the self, entering another body and knoweldge of past, present and future.
         Lord Krishna referred to the Three Principles of Vedas or ‘Trikanda’: Upasana (Sacrifice, Song and Prayer), Karma or fruitive labour and Jnana ( Spiritual Knowledge).[In fact, Bhagavat Gita devoted six chapters each to Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga]. To those who are fed up with materialistic life and are not keen on performing the rituals prescribed by the Scriptures JnanaYoga is preferrable, while who have desires unfulfilled, Karma Yoga would be the answer.The third alternative for a person who is neither too materialistic nor averse to perform service to the Lord, the best suited is the via-media of Bhakti Yoga. The Ashtanga Yoga including the procedures of Yama, Nigama, Asana, Paryvayama, Pratyahara, Dharma, Dhyana and Samadhi calls for the Karma Yoga. Total surrender and dedicated devotion constitutes an elaborate procedure of worship to a nicely decorated and ornamented Idol with full paraphernalia of flowers, incense sticks, camphor, fruits, coconuts, honey, milk,yougurt (all-mixed  Panchamrita),sandalwood paste, lamps for lighting ghee soaked vicks, Prasadas as offerings (Bhakshya’, Bhojya, Lehya, Choshya and Paniyas), along with Vedic Hymns to describe ‘Avahana’ ‘Argya’, ‘Padya’, ‘Achamana’, ‘Dhoopa’, ‘Dipa’, ‘Naivedya’, etc.of ‘Shodasopacharyas’( sixteen acts of service).The worship services include recitation of  Vedic Prayers like Mantra Pushpam, Purusha Suktam and other Vedic Mantras. Penance by way of fasting, charity,‘Bhajans’(Group Singing and dance), ‘Purana Sravanam’( hearing Puranas), visiting holy places and holy persons, performance of ‘Vraths’ or Sacrifices are all parts of the Bhakti Yoga. The Third Path of Jnana Yoga or the Spiritual Knowledge is the realisation of Prakriti or Maya and ‘Purusha’ or Paramatma as ‘Avyaktam’(Unknown),’Sasvatam’ (Everlasting), ‘Vishnu’(all pervading),’Anantham’( Endless), ‘Ajam’(Unborn), ‘Avyaam’ (Imperishable).By logical deduction, commonsense or personal discernment, Spiritual Evidence and Self-Realisation, there is a firm conviction that the Universe has a beginning and an end.The impermanancy of all the contents of the Universe inluding the existence of the Creator Brahma, the Preserver Vishnu the the destroyer Siva (representing the Three Gunas) down the Planetary System, Demi-Gods, the entire Creation of life, let alone humanity is an extension and manifestation of that Unique Super Energy alone that exists far beyond the measures of Time, Material and Illusions. It is that finality of Truth which eludes Reality that a Jnani seeks to guess- be it by the Karma Route, or Bhakti, or Jnana Yoga or Siddhis that one targets to percieve finally!Hence the Quest for Truth and Meaning of Existence

Destruction of Yadu Dynasty and Krishna ‘Niryana’
Thus summarising His Preaching, Lord Krishna asked Uddhava about further doubts, and the Devotee with a very grateful visage, tears rolling down and prostrating in a trance, replied whether darkness, frost, fear and ignorance could ever countenance the brightest Sun, face- to- face and still remain unenlightened! Krishna then instructed Uddhava to travel to Badrikasram on the banks of the Holy Alaknanda River and by observing regulations of a Hermit with fulfledged vigour await the Final Call.
On noticing ill-omens on the sky, Krishna also instructed His relatives, associates and wellwishers to proceed forthwith to Prabhatakshetra on the banks of River Sarasvathi to aviod the horrible termination of the entire Dynasty  of Yadus by mutual destruction, as a result of the cursing of Sages with whom some of the misdirected youngters of Yadavas. The curse affected all the sub categories of the Dynasty including Dasarhas, Vrishnis, Andhakas, Bhojas, Satvatas, Madhus and so on. As the deadly hours neared, sons and fathers, uncles and nephews, sons in law and father in laws, brothers and brothers in law had slaughtered each other untill the last trace of the once glorious Yadus.The cane stalks on the beachside of the Ocean turned into fearful thunderbolts (since the particles of the iron mace which emerged from the stomach of the ‘fake pregnant woman’ and were ground and got scattered from the Ocean on the hay and canes) were used as killers for destroying mutually. Lord Balarama having witnessed the horrifying happenings all around sat in composure on the Ocean bed and by the power of Yoga lifted up Himself as His role in the Epic was over successfully and left the mortal remains. Lord Krishna Himself had seen the conclusion of Balarama and lied down under the shadow of a Pipal Tree with His right hand resting under head in full glory with complete ornamentation of Four Handed Form sporting His Conch shell, Sudarsan Wheel, Mace and Lotus as also His Kaustubha Jewel.His left foot toe attracted the attention of  a hunter, Jara, as a bird’s head and released an arrow on the target. As the hunter approached the target, he found to his greatest dismay and fear, that the targetted ‘bird head’ was Lord Krishna Himself! Krishna consoled the hunter who was bewildered with shivers that He Himself planned the accident on His own volition to facilitate the mortal termination of His Incarnation. His charioteer Daruka searching for the Lord found Him stupified lying in that state and on regaining his senses hurried to convey the unbelievable news to Pandavas. Meanwhile, Lords Brahma and Siva, leading Demi-Gods, full collection of Planetery Heads appeared at Prabhasa Kshetra, and Celestial Bodies showered flowers, Gandharvas sang welcome songs, and Sages of Top Order recited Vedic Hymns.It appeared that the normal movement of Time and Planets was somewhat disturbed.Lord’s Own carrier Garuda appeared to carry Him to Vaikuntha. Arjuna supervised the rites of His mortal form of Paramatma who is Eternal and transferred the women and children of Yadus to Indraprastha the Capital of Pandavas and chose Vajra, a survivor of the Yadu clan as their King

Degradation of Further Dynasities and Kali Yuga

Maha Muni Suka traced from his futuristic vision of Dynasities to come including those of Magadhas, Pradyotana, Sisunaga (Mahanandi being a potent Ruler betrayed by a famous Brahmana named Chanakya), Maurya, Sunga, Kanva, Abira, Yavanas, Turuskas and Kulukilas. As the Kali Age moved on, there had been a continuous erosion of moral and spiritual values and blatant display of injustice, lawlessness and violence.

Muni Suka also described the features of Kali Yuga of which the present Generation is a witness.[Indeed the present phase is hardly the first one, and future might reveal worse things; there are three more phases to follow!]

King Parikshith passes away

Maha Muni Suka gave the last instructions to King Parikshith after a week long Discourse of Maha Bhagavata and advised him not to be afraid of death, for that would invariably follow the next birth in the long chain of human life and thus fortify himself to place himself at the Golden Feet of Maha Vishnu who is the Ultimate. Even as Suka Muni rose to leave the King who prostrated before the Muni expressing his deepest gratitude for his Golden Discourse, ‘Taksha’the mighty snake arrived in the guise of a Brahmana and offered a lemon to the King.
[Earlier, Taksha was requested by the Brahmana Boy to fulfil a curse to the King to die within a week; Taksha intercepted Sage Kasyap who was seeking to protect the King. Daksha challenged Sage Kasyap to revive a tree which got burnt by Daksha; the sage collected the ash of the burnt tree and revived it. Taksha pacified the Sage and requested him to let a curse of the Brahmana Boy be fulfilled and thus the Sage did not interfere in the matter] From the lemon given by Daksha in the Brahmin guise to King Parikshith came out a worm which took the shape of a huge serpent and from its bite died the King. Parikshith’s son Janamejaya sought to take revenge on Daksha and conducted a powerful Sacrifice of snakes burnt in Agni Yajna. He desired Taksha too be burnt in the Sacrifice, but was informed that Indra was protecting Daksha and the revenge of Janamejaya’s was such that he was prepared to even sacrifice Indra himself. Brihaspathi, Deva  Guru prevented Janamejaya to perform the Sarpa Yajna further not only to become a victim of vengence and anger but also to maintain elological balance in the Creation process itself.

Original Propagation of Vedas
After the discourse by Suka Muni to King Parikshth, who died of Daksha’s snake bite and King Janamejaya’s vengeful Sarpa Yagna and Brihaspathi’s counsel not to pursue the Sacrifice, Sage Suta took over the further Discourse at Naimisaranya to a congregation of Rishis headed by sage Saunaka. He explained that the Vedic Sound ‘OM’emanted from the Supreme Energy as the seed of all Vedic Hymns. Omkara emerged from the three original sounds of the alphabets- A,U and M. These three sounds represent three forms of Nature-Sat, Rajas and Tamasa; three Vedas-Rig, Yajur and Sama; three planetary systems-Bhur,Bhuvar, and  Svah; and three functions of Universe-Creation, Sustenance and Destruction.
Lord Brahma created other sounds of Alphabets, Consonants, and measurements and Time.The Sage Parasara and his spouse Satyavati begot  Sage Vyasa, who was basically responsible to divide One Single Veda heard first from the four mouths / heads of Lord Brahma to four Separate Vedas and taught each of the Samhitas to separate Disciples: Rig Veda known as Bavrucha to Paila, YajurVeda known as Nigada was passed on to Vysampayana, Sama Veda known as Chandoga Samhita to Jaimini, and Atharva Veda to Sumantu. Paila gave two parts each to Bhaskala and Indrapramiti. Bhaskala passed on one part each to Bodhya, Yajnyavalka, Parasara and Agnimitra. Indrapramiti taught his part of the Samhita to Murdyuka. This was further taught by the latter to Devamitra and further in the line to Saubhari. Down the line, Sakalya added his own version of the Samhita and taught one half of it to Vatsya, Mudgala, Gokhaya and Sisira.Another disciple of Sakalya Jaturnya added a  Vedic Glossary to the total collection of Rig Veda. There was however some problem in the evolution of Atharva Veda given to Sumantu. In his lineage, Sage Vysampayana and his disciples became authorities of the Veda.These disciples were known as ‘Charakas’, as they were under instuctions from their Teacher to relieve him of a sin to have killed a Brahmana. Thus one of his students Yagnavalkya suggested that he himself could perform a severe sacrifice to relieve of the Guru of the sin.Vysampayana grew angry and asked Yagnyavalka to vomit whatever was taught to him and get out. Yagnyavalkya approached Lord Brahma directly through hard penance and obtained valuble Yajur Mantras never known earlier and the Sage compiled fifteen new chapters known as Vajasniya Samhita, since Sun God personally delivered the new Mantras riding a horse and the hairs on the mane of the horse. The Yajur Mantras omitted by Yajnyavalka which were sought by other disciples assumed the forms of partridges and picked up the remains and hence the name of Titheriya Samhita which are popular till date.  As regards Sama Veda, Jaimini who was taught by Vyasa Maha Muni, and the former taught the entire Veda into three parts, of which one part each was taught to his son Sumanthu, grand son Satvan as also to his disciple Sukarna.The three of them distributed their parts to thousands of disciples some targetting the northern and eastern parts of Bharat mainly. Besides Vedas,  there are Eighteen Puranas or historical records of Events highlighting Specific Instances through Ages and Yugas, underlining the interaction between Maya and the Supreme Energy.The Puranas are Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Siva, Linga, Garuda, Narada, Bhagavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavishya, Brahma Vivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, Varaha, Masya, Kurma, and Brahmanda

Vision of ‘Virat Purusha’

In conclusion, Suta Muni sought to delineate The Supreme Energy in a Human Form to facilitate comprehension so that one could possibly target and concentrate on an Existence rather than a Concept or Abstraction. Apart from the Unmanifested Half, the ‘Virat Swarupa’ or the Collosal Body, has Earth as His Feet, Sky as His Navel, Sun as His Eyes, Brahma the Procreator as His Genital, Death as His Excretion, Moon as His Mind, the Heavenly Planets as His Head, Directions as His Ears, Demi Gods protecting the Planetary System as His Arms, Destruction and Fatality as His Eye-brows, Shame as His Lower Lip, Greed as His Upper Lip, Delusion as His Smile, Moonshine as His Teeth, Trees as His Bodily Hairs, and Clouds as His Hairs on Head.

Now, the Description of His Bodily Ornamenation includes His Kaustubha Gem represents the Purity of Soul, the Srivatsa Mark as the Astonishing Radiance of The Jewel, His Flower-Garland as Material Energy comprising permutations and formulations of the Natural Feelings of Goodness, Passion and Ignorance.; yellow garments as the Vedic Meters; His Sacred Thread (‘Yagnopaveeta’) representing ‘Omkara’ or ‘Pranava’, His two Earrings the processes and practice of Yoga and Sankhya, His Crown denoting Protection and Fearlessness; ‘Ananta’ His Sitting Place being the unmanifested segment of His Existence; His Throne symbolic of Goodness originating from Religiosity and Knowledge; His Club/ Mace the Life Force or ‘Prana’ incorporating Sensory, Mental and Physical Energies; His Conch Shell the Element of wate; Sudarsana Disc His Element of Fire; His sword as the Element of Sky  (Ether); Sheild standing for onslaught of Ignorance; ‘Saranga’ the Bow the Time; Arrow Filler the Sensory Organs; Arrows the Material Senses; His chariot an Assertion and Speed of Mind and so on. Sun Globe is the Place where one could worship the Almighty as He is the medium. He is in the Glorious Company of Lakshmi the Goddess of Prosperity. His Vehicle is Garuda standing for Threefold Vedas. The Chief of His Personal Associates, Vishvaksena is the personification of Tantras and His Gate Keepers headed by Nanda are the mystic powers like Anima, Mahima, Laghima and Siddhis.It is this Virat Purusha in a Permanent and Perfect Human Form with Physical Limbs signifying Transcendence and Sublimity that one craves to worship and amalgamate!

Summing Up
Maha Bhagavatha is stated to be the ‘Sumnum Bonum’ of not only the Eighteen Puranas but is the Concentrate of Vedic Know-how. Basically addressed to a person awaiting death within seven days (with full awareness about its Timing), the narration is at once descriptive and devotional reminding the Readers at each step that the purpose of the Script is to underline the Might of the Super Force, the magnitude of what one  could never comprehend, the Magnanimity of His Easy Accessibility, the Proximity to which one could reach, and the Possibility of even merger with Him, given the right means to do so.
Maha Bhagavatam reveals just that viz. the Awareness arising out of Learning, persuade the Will and Resolution to act, perfect and fine tune the means to Reach and synthesize the Self with the Super Self.

 [Kayena Vacha Mansendriyarva Budhyatmanava Prakruthe Swabhavat
 Karomiyadyat Sakalam Parasmy Sriman Narayanaeyeti samarpayami]
All the acts that I perform - either by natural tendencies, or physical, vocal, mental, sensory inclinations, or promptings of Inner Consciouness- are being dedicated to Sriman Narayana.


Om Tat Sat

End of Maha Bhagavata Purana

(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji  for the collection)


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