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The Essence of Puranas – Markandeya Purana-1

Posted by gopalakrishna

The Essence of Puranas – Markandeya  Purana

Markandeya refers Sage Jaimini’s doubts to Holy Birds

Om Ganeshaya namah, Om Namo Bhagavatey Vasudevaya
Yad yogibhir bhava bhayaarthi vinasha yogya maasadya vanditamativa vivikthachittaih
Tadvah punatu Haripada saroja yugmaavir bhavatkrama vilanghita bhur bhuvah suvah.
(Let the lotus feet of Narayana purify those who deserve to overcome fear and distress of their lives and those Yogis and Sanyasins who are immersed in the devotion of the Lord whose manifestation occupies all the three worlds of Bhu Loka, Bhuvar Loka and Suvar Loka as a ‘Vamana’ or a Pigmy).
Once Sage Jaimini, the disciple of Veda Vyasa, asked Markandeya about the significance of the great Epic Maha Bharatha, which related to the four kinds of ‘Purusharthas’ (human aspirations) viz. Dharma (Virtue), Artha (Wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (Salvation) as inter-linked, whereas these concepts appeared distinct otherwise.He enquired as to why the Supreme Force that created, preserved and also destroyed the Universe, took to a human form as Vasudeva; why did Devi Draupadi become the co- wife of Five of Pandavas; why did the illustrious Balarama atone the sin of 'Brahmahatya' (killing of a Brahmana) during his pilgrimage;and under which peculiar circumstances did the sons of Draupadi die!
To these doubts of Sage Jaimini, Markandeya replied that he was busy with his Rituals and as such the Sage might better contact Four Sacred Birds, viz. Pingaksha, Subodha, Suputra and Sumukha, the sons of Brahmana Drona, who were experts in Vedas and Scriptures; these birds residing in a cave on Vindhya moutains would be able to clear all the possible doubts related to Mahabharata. Sage Jaimini wondered whether the birds were capable of clearing the doubts and asked Markandeya for confirmation whether he heard the reply properly.

Muni Durvasa’s curse to Apsara leads to the birth of Holy Birds

Narada said that who ever could attract Durvasa Muni who was meditating on a nearby hill would be the winner.One of the Apsaras called Vapu resorted to loud singing and dance which disturbed Durvasa Muni; he cursed the Apsara to become a bird for sixteen years in a row of births, that she should not give birth to a baby and that after the period of the curse should die by a weapon before getting her original form. Markandeya continued to narrate a related Story that there were two brothers in the lineage of the avian King Garuda, called Kank and Kandhar. Kank visited Kailasa Mountain and found a demon Vidyudrup enjoying privacy with his wife Madanika.The demon objected to the presence of the bird and killed it. This infuriated the brother Kandhar and killed the demon in turn. Madanika desired that Kandhar should become his wife; she could change her form as a bird since she was an Apsara herself being the daughter of Menaka. Bird Madanika was born as Vapu in her next birth due to the curse of Durvasa. Kandhar named her as Taarkshi who was married to Drona, the son of a Brahmana named Mandapal. She was pregnant at the time of the Great Battle of Mahabharata and accidentally flew when Arjuna and an opponent King of Kauravas called Bhagdath were engaged in fighting. Bhagdath's arrow tore Taarkshi's adomen and four eggs fell on the ground; at the same time, a big bell of Bhagdath's elephant too fell and proteced the eggs. After the Battle was over, a Sage Shami visited the battle field along with his disciples and noticed the big bell; when lifted came out four chicks without wings. The Sage was taken aback andexclaimed to the disciples that apparently these chicks were not ordinary ones, got them carried to his hermitage and fostered them. The Birds grew big enough in the hermitage under the care of the Muni and learnt Vedas and various Scriptures which the Muni taught to the students. One day, the Muni and others were surprised when the birds suddenly conversed as human beings; they said that they learnt what all was taught to the students, that they would consider him as their Guru and sought a direction to proceed further in their lives ahead. The Guru was surprised and wondered as to how the birds could learn, talk with clarity and think far better than ordinary humans!The Birds replied that they were the sons of a Muni named Vipulaswan and their names were Sukrish and Tumbaru. When their father was engaged in performing one Yagna, Indra appeared in disguise as an old bird and asked for human flesh as its food. The Muni desired the sons to oblige but they refused and the father cursed them to become as Birds. Just as the Muni was about to sacrifice himself, Indra appeared and conveyed that he was testing them all. The sons sought pardon but it was too late for the Muni to withdraw the curse, although he softened it that even as birds the sons would acquire knowledge of Vedas and Scriptures as also clarity of speech as the best of humans could. Guru Shami gave permission to the Birds to migrate to Vindhyas and propagate Dharma.

Jaimini’s doubts on ‘Mahabharata’ clarified by the Holy Birds

Sage Jaimini’s first doubt was that while Paramatma happened to be the Cause of Causes and the root of Creation, Preservation and Destruction, why He took a human form as an ordinary person subject to birth, death and such other qualities in Maha Bharata as well as in other incarnations! The Birds replied as follows:
Namaskruthya Sureshaya Vishnavey Prabhavishnavey,
 Purushaayaprameyaaya Shasvathaavyayay cha/
Chaturvyuhaatmaney Thasmai Trigunaayaagunaaya cha,
Varishtha garishtaaya Varenyaamrithaya cha/ 
Yasmaadanutaram naasti yasmaannasti bruhattaram,
 yena vishvamidam Vyaptamajena  Jagadaadina/
aavirbhavathirobhaava drushtaadrushta vilakshanam
Vadanthi  Yashpashtamidam tathaivaanthey cha samstitham/

(Our salutations to Suresha, Vishnu, Prabhavishnu, the All-pervading, the Most Potent, the Supreme Soul, the Eternal and Endless, the ‘Chaturvyuhaatmaka’, the Unimaginable, the Triguna with three features of Satva, Rajas and Tamas, as also the Nirguna or devoid of Features; the Senior Most, the Choicest, the Indestructible, the Concept of the Tiniest and the Collossal, the Creator and Destroyer, the Seen and Unseen, the Totality yet the Finality).The Birds stated further that the Foremost Form of the Supreme is ‘Naara’ or Water and ‘Ayan’or the Abode- thus ‘Narayan’ was of ‘Vyaktaavyakta’ Form or the Definable in a Murthi Form legible only to Yogis and yet Undefinable with no Form or Shape. The Second Form is of the Dweller of Patala Loka viz. the Sesha or ‘Sankarshana’ who bears on His Head the entire Prithvi or the Earth and is essentially of ‘Tamasic’ Feature. The Third Form is of ‘Satvic’ Nature represented by Lord ‘Pradyumna’ who is the Originator and Creator of the Universe. The Fourth ‘Swarup’ is of Lord ‘Anirudha’of Rajasic Guna who sustains the Universe and administers Dharma (Virtue) and ensures that the Evil in the World is destroyed; the Birds thus explained to the Sage Jaimini in reference to his query:
Yada Yadahi dharmasya Glanirbhavati Jaiminey,
Abhuthhaanamadharmasya thadaatmaanam Srujasthyasow/
Bhutva pura Varaahena thundenaapo nirasyacha,
Ekaya damshtrotkhataa Nalineeva Vasumdhara/
Krutva Nrisimha rupancha Hiranyakashipu hatah,
Viprachitthi Mukhaswaanye danava vinipaatitah/
Vamanadeem stathivaananyanna samkhyaatu- mihotsah,
Avataraamscha tasyeha Maathuraha Sampratamtwayam/
Hey Jaiminey! As and when Dharma is distressed and Adharma is encouraged, Paramatma takes a Form and creates the Self as an Incarnation; the Supreme Self assumed the Form of a Varaha (Boar) rescued Prithvi from sinking depths of water by its single tusk as though a lotus is gently plucked and retained in her original position; the same Vishnu assumed the Form of Nrisimha (Man-Lion) and exterminated the Demon Hiranyakasipu; He killed Viprachitti and other Danavas in a similar fashion; He also took the Incarnation of Vamanadevaand such other Forms as and when the needs demanded; in the instant case during the time of ‘Mahabharata’, the Lord took the Form of Shri Krishna; indeed Pradyumana Murthi creates Himself in whatever Form that He deems fit either as a human being or in any other Incarnation.

Why did Draupadi marry all the five Pandava brothers?

 Apprehending the severe penance of Trishira, the son of powerful Brahmana Twashta, Indra suspected danger of his own position and thus killed Trishira. Twashta went into a rage and plucked a strand of hair from his head and offered it in the homa kunda (Fire Pit) by his mantrik power and created the mighty Vritrasura whose mission was to kill Indra, who had already lost his sheen since he committed a Brahmana. Indra deputed the Sapta Rishis to strike a deal with Vritra so that he would not put Indra to immediate danger; but Vritra was killed unawares by Indra.

These actions angered the community of Rakshasas resulting in continuous warfare against Devas and Prithvi felt great burden of the atrocities by the demons. Prithvi appealed to Indra and the Deities who in turn took the forms of Pandavas:
Yadindradeham cha Tejasthanmumocha Swayam Vrishah,
Kunthyamjaatho Mahatejaastatho Raja Yudhishtarah/
Balam mumocha Pavanastatho Bhimo vyajaayat,
Shakraveeryardhatas chaiva jajney Paarthom Dhananjayah/
Utpanno Yamalou Maadriyam Shaka Rupou Mahadyuti,
Panchadhaa Bhagavannityamavateernah Shatukratuh/
Tasyotpanna Mahabhaaga Patni KrishnaHutaashanat,
Shakrasyaikasya sa Patni Krishna naanyascha kasyachit/
Yogeeswaraah shareeraani Kurvati bahulaanyapi,
Panchaanaameka Patnitwamityetatkathitham tava/
(Dharmaraja himself from the body  of Indra deposited his virility into Kunti from which was created Yudhishtara. The Deity of Wind viz. Pavan deposited Indra’s radiance into Kunti as a result of which Bhima was born. Indra gave away half of his ‘Shakti’ to Kunti and Dhananjaya was thus born. Indra’s virility was transferred through the two Ashwani Kumars to Devi Maadri and was born the pair of Nakul and Sahadeva. Indra’s ‘Amshas’ (alternatives) were manifested among all the five Pandava brothers clearly. Moreover, Indra’s wife Shachi Devi as Yagnaseni was created from ‘Agni’ and hence Draupadi was Indra’s own better half.Yogeswar Purush Indra could divide his own radiance into as many parts as per his volition. Hence, it was amply justified that Draupadi was indeed the common wife of the five Pandavas as asserted by the Holy Birds to Sage Jaimini in response to the Sage’s doubt.

Why did Balarama atone for the sin of ‘Brahmahatya’during his pilgrimage?

Balarama, the elder brother of Shri Krishna, remained neutral during the Great Battle of Mahabharata between Pandavas and Kauravas. Instead, he along with his wife Revathi proceeded on pilgrimage for twelve years. In the course of the travel, he took ‘toddy’, a kind of intoxicant drink, and entered a charming garden called ‘Raivat’ full of fruits, flowers and chirping birds along with his beloved wife and the entire atmosphere was quite alluring.

They spotted a hermitage where several Brahmanas gathered to hear Sage Suta’s preachings; the Brahmanas stood up and greeted the Balarama couple excepting the Sage Suta. Balarama felt slighted and killed the Sage in his intoxication but eventually realised his folly after recovering his normacly thus becoming a victim of the sin of ‘Brahmahatya’. The assembly of Brahmanas was dispersed in disgust at the tragedy. For twelve years, Balarama observed fast during the pilgrimage and atoned for the sin at the Holy Spot of Puloma Saraswati to pay further penance

Why were the defenceless sons of Draupadi killed in sleep?

In his reply, the Holy Birds narrated the strange happenings of a famous Ruler of the Yore.The most virtuous and ideal King Harischandra was an outstanding Ruler of the Satya Yuga when Dharma, Truth and Honesty were at the peak; he treated his subjects as his own children who in turn reciprocated his fatherly love totally. During his time, none feared of illness, untimely death and unfulfilled desires of life; even Deities being fully convinced of his high qualities and merit cooperated in ensuring that his Kingdom was peaceful and unparalelled.

Once, King Harischandra went to a nearby forest for hunting, when he heard loud shrieks of women saying ‘help us, help us’. The King wondered that in his Kingdom, there were such pitiful screams and hence shouted back to say that hewas approaching the direction from where the crying squeals emerged. Actually, the shouts were the illusions created by the Vighnaraja Vinayaka. Harischandra knew that Sage Viswamitra was performing severe penance in that very forest. With a view to test the King, the Lord of Hindrances Gajaanana entered Harischandra’s body that was in search of the illusory shrieking women and faced Viswamitra whose penance was disturbed.The Sage grew angry at the King but the illusion created by Vighnaraja in the King’s body made the latter argue with the Sage in harsh words. After realising his folly, soon after Vighnaraja exited his body, the King apologised to the Sage profusely and offered all kinds of help for a Yagna that the Sage was to perform soon. The Sage told the King that presuming whatever assistance that the King would provide for the Yagna, he would also have to offer ‘dakshina’ (Fees) to the Sage. Harischandra thus entered into the Sage’s trap; Viswamitra said:
Rajanpratigruheethoyam yastey datthah,
Prayaccha Prathamam thavathdakshinaam Rajasuyakeem
(Raja! Let us presume that whatever you would have liked to give me, might have been given away to me, but how about the Dakshina to me for performing the Rajasuya Yagna?).
Harischandra replied: Brahmam-Staamapi dasyami dakshinaam bavathohyamam, vriyatam Dwijashardula yastaveshtah Pratigruham/
(Hey Brahman! I shall nodoubt provide dakshina too as you desire).
The reply from Viswamitra was indeed unsavoury as he said:
Sasaagaram dharaametam Sabhubhrudgramapathanaam Rajyamchasakalam Veera rathaaswagajamsakalam Koshtaagaaramcha koshamcha yacchhanyadwidyatey tava/
binaa bharya cha putram chashariramcha tavaanagha/
Dharmam cha Sarva Dharmanjna yoganthamunigacchati,
bahunaava kimuktena sarvametatpradeeyataam
(Hey Vira! These entire Seas, Bhumi, Townships, villages, mountains, chariots, horses, elephants etc.; Koshtaagaar (Interior Courts, Treasury and all the rest would belong to me, excepting your wife, son and your-self as they would belong to you as per Dharma Sastras; why all this, you have to give me each and everything else!) Vishwamitra then asked Harischandra to confirm as to who was the King ; if so the latter should immediately leave the place devoid of ornaments, Royal Insignia and even the dress that he and his wife Shaibya and son Rohitasya wore and be better dressed by tree barks and leaves! While they were getting ready to leave the Place, Viswamitra stopped them and asked Harischandra about the dakshina that he had to give to the Sage for performing the Rajasuya Yagna; the former King replied that since he had nothing else with him, he would have to wait to pay the dakshina; Viswamitra asked for the time frame to pay the dakshina and insisted that till then, he and his wife and child would be his slaves and even resorted to maltreating him, his wife and son. It was at this miserable moment that the Five Lokapalas (Deities of the Five Directions) were annoyed and expressed their resentment to the Sage, but the latter gave a curse to them that they would be born as human beings; the Lokapalas were frightened and entreated Viswamitra to withdraw his curse. The Sage then softened the curse that they would not get entangled with their worldly affairs, that they would remain as bachelors and aviod ‘Samsara’ and that they would get killed without much prolongation of life. It was at that curse of Viswamitra that Draupadi’s five sons were born and murdered by Aswatthama, the son of Dronacharya; thus explained the Holy Birds to the Sage Jaimini in reply to his query in the context of Maha Bharata.
King Harischandra, an exceptional example of Dharma (Virtue) and Satya (Truth)

Sage Jaimini expressed gratitude to the Holy Birds who provided excellent clarifications to his queries in a lucid and convincing manner, but became curious as to know further the sequence of Events that climaxed King Harischandra’s further destiny. As Viswamitra ordered Harischandra to leave his Kingdom, the latter reached Varanasi, the Sacred Place of Parama Siva. Viswamitra reached there too and reminded about the dues of Dakshina since a month passed meanwhile.Harischandra’s wife offered that she could be sold off to pay for the Dakshina.

The King fainted at her proposal and she fainted too. But since the Sage gave an ultimatum to pay off at least a part payment by that evening, the couple decided that she was sold in an open market place as a slave of any taker.
A Brahmana came forward to buy her and some amount was paid to Viswamitra, but the young son Rohit did not leave his mother and she begged the Brahmana, who already started insulting and even beating her in the presence of her husband and the Public, finally agreed to allow the son to stay along with her in his home. A few days later, Viswamitra appeared in the form of ‘Kaal’ (Mrityu/ the Deity of Death) and demanded that atleast another instalment of the payment due to him at once; Harischandra had no other option to sell himself to a Chandala, even while reminiscing his past stature and the absence of his virtuous wife and the dear son. The Chandala gave him the duty of holding a stick to burn off dead bodies and be loyal to the Master and carry out his meanest errands The Great Harischandra finally got rid of Viswamitra even if he had to perform the most wretched and heinous duties; he lost his identity and carried on with past memories which also faded away with the passage of time and led a mechanical and handful existence.One fateful day, a woman arrived at the burial ground with a dead body of her son, stated to have been dead as a result of a snake bite.The crying woman recognised the person with his stick with which he was used to burn off dead bodies for years now, and even as_he had a dishvelled and ugly hair and beard, with depressed cheeks and hollow eyes. The former Queen Shaibya, the wife of King Harischandra was herself half clad and hardly identifiable, with her dead son on her lap; she had tired eyes after incessant cries and was looking completely exhausted and hysteric. A man called Harischandra- a non-entity-vaguely felt he saw her somewhere! At last, he recognised her and their dead son and hugged her and the son’s body, arranged the dead son on a huge pyre and was about to consign to flames. His wife decided to immolate herself but Harischandra felt that he was not free even to do so without his Master’s permission.Finally he decided to join his wife’s immolation even if he were to go to hell and the couple performed their last prayers to Almighty. Just at that nick of time several Deities headed by Dharma made their appearance; they included Sadhyaganas, Vishvadeva, Marutganas, Lokapalas, Nagamani, Siddhaganas, Gandharvas, Rudraganas, the two Ashvani Kumaras, Sage Viswamitra and Lord Indra too.The dead Rohit was revived and presented himself in a Prince’s attire Harischandra and his wife were blessed and were invited to reach Heaven but the King hesitated as he did not secure his Master’s permission; Dharmaraja declared that he himself was the Chandala and approved of the Royal Couple to fly by the Pushpak Vimana to Swarga. Lord Indra stated that all the Deities were extremely happy with the _Values of Dharma, Sacrifice, Dedication and Truthfulness that were amply demonstrated _by the King, his wife and their son and as such the three were fully entitled to Swarga. Indra sprinkled ‘Apamrutyu vinaashaka Amrit’/ the Ambrosia that negated death on the Pyre where the dead body of Rahul was kept and the various Deities showered fresh fragrant flowers and Indra personally invited the Threesome to Swarga; .but Harischandra hesitated and said that the Citizens of Ayodhya were highly anguished at our misfortune and hence the King and family alone could not depart to Swaraga committing betrayal; the sins of Brahmahatya, Guruhatya, Gohatya, Streehatya are as deplorable as Bhaktahatya; therefore Bhagavan Indra! Kindly return to Swarga, since the pleasure of visiting that Place would not accord as much happiness of our reaching Swarga as our staying in this ‘Bhu Naraka’ along with our Bhaktas! Thus our resolve is to stay back with our own well-wishers ony.Lord Indra was taken aback by the decision of Harischandra and did concur with his proposal as an.unusual and exceptional occurrence! Sage Sukracharya commended the example of Harischandra and stated as follows: Harischandrasamo Raja na bhuto na Bhavishyati! The Daityacharya Sukra also confirmed that those who heard or read Raja Harischandra’s Story of sacrifices and dedication, with devotion and sincerity would achieve the fruits of digesting the gist of Vedas, Puranas and Mantras; those who read or hear the same at Pushkar, Prayag, Sindhusagar, Devalayas (Temples), Kasi and Kurukshetra; or performing Japas /Meditation during Eclipse Periods. Further, ‘Daan’ (charity) of foodgrains, clothes, gold, cows etc.to those who read and explain the details of the Story would fulfill their desires like begetting ideal progeny, securing idyllic life-partner, prosperity and good health.

Rivalry of Vasishtha and Viswamitra and their mutual curses to become birds

After emerging from his penance under water for twelve long years, the Guru of the King Harischandra, Sage Vasishtha, came to learn that Viswamitra tormented the King and his family to such unendurable limits as taking away their Kingdom, freedom of existence, and near extinction of their lives. It was due the enduring capacity of the King that even Deities like Indra, Dharma and Dikpalakaas complemented him and his family as felt by Vaishtha. Quite incensed by the deplorable acts of Viswamithra, he gave a Curse saying:

Tasmadduraatma Brahmadvida yajvinaamavatopakah macchhapahato moodhaha sa bakatvamavaapsyati
(Due to this reason, that evil-minded stupid who is a hater of Brahmanas and who seeks to spoil Yagnas being performed by them be cursed to become a stork!). But Viswamitra came to know of the curse and gave a return curse to Vasishtha to say:
Twamaadi bhavasvet
(You become a Partridge!).
By virtue of their mutual curses, both the Sages turned out to be birds and kept on quarrelling with each other screeching and shrieking and becoming a nuisance in the surroundings. Lord Brahma himself, as accompannied by Deities sought to bring about truce to the fighting Baka (Stork) and Aaadi (Partridge) but to no effect. Finally, Lord Brahma over-ruled the mutual curses of the Sages and restored their original forms.Vasishtha and Viswamitra felt ashamed of them; Brahma explaned to Vasishtha that the extreme actions taken by Sage Viswamitra against Harischandra and family were only to put them to test but not out of spite or jealousy; even Dharma Raja was an actor in the drama that was initiated by Maha Ganapati Himself! Harischandra and family as also the great illustrious Well-wisher Subjects of Ayodhya were amply rewarded at the end thus explained Lord Brahma.

Evolution of human lives from birth to death and mystery thereafter!

About the Evolution of human life from birth to death and the mystery thereafter Sage Jaimini requested the Holy Birds to delineate the process of Human Creation, its development in the womb by forbearing the difficulties inside it, its entry into the World, its Growth, its consciousness and Death, the Mystery that shrouded the Existence of Post-Life and of the cycle of rebirth that was normally believed in! Normally, the various kinds of food consumed ought to get digested in the belly’s ‘Jatharaagni’or the Digestive Fire; but how was it that an egg is formed instead of being digested away and grew as a foetus!

How was it that after entry into the world the child after gradually gaining consciousness commenced performing various actions of good and bad nature through- out one’s life!
These were the secret mysteries of human life that the Sage desired the Holy Birds to reveal. In reply, the Birds narrated the Story of Sumati, the son of a Brahmana called Mahamati, who grew up gradually and attained boyhood worthy of entering the phase of ‘Vidyardhi dasa’ or of Studentship. As the boy who did not appear smart enough to his father, the latter advised him that Sumati should take tutelage of a Guru, learn Vedas, become worldly-wise, gain experience in life, earn his own lively hood, get married, beget children, enjoy family life, then retire to ‘Vanaprastha’ Ashram to attain ‘Brahma Gyan’ and so on. Sumati smiled and replied to his father that whatever was being advised to him was already experienced during several of his previous births including the past experiences of some thousand years, that he learnt many Shastras like even Shilpa Shastra, that he had witnessed innumerable joys and sorrows of existences, had many parents, wives, children and relationships; that he underwent the tortures of births and deaths along with various diseases, was born as Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras; as animals, birds, and insignificant flies; as Kings, Servants, and poverty–sricken low class humans; as women and men; as kind and merciful beings and also as cruel, mean and timid; and so on! The Father asked the son as to how he had the knowledge of all the previous ‘Janmas ’with such long, peculiar and chequered past, and Sumati replied that he  had the gift of a ‘Jatismara’ or he who has the extraordinary power of past memories of a series of lives ranging from a Superior Sage and Yogi to a non-descript species of Lord’s Creation! In the previous birth, Sumati was a Brahmana who practised the difficult art of ‘Atma Vidya’ or aligning the self with Paramatma with great ernestness and was blessed by unusual memory power; that capacity coupled with ‘Abhyas’(constant application),‘Satsamyog’(Union with Truth), ‘Vichar’ (Introspection), and ‘Vidhi Shodhan’ (Dedication to Dutifulness) gave him the Title of ‘Acharya’. Even after death, the memory power was carried forward and made him a ‘Jatismara’ in retrospective effect and hence he knew the recollection of all his previous births! None could achieve the power of Jatismara in the normal way and having attained it, he would endeavour for Salvation. It was in this background, that Mahamati sought clarifications from his son Sumati on many doubts that were bothering him for long. Brief status of human beings at the time of death, after life and rebirth Sumati described the condition of one’s physique at the time of death:
Utkraanti kaalada-raabhya yatha naanyo vadishyati, Ushmaa prakupatih kaayo teevra vayusameeritah/
Bhinnaarti marma sthanaani deepyamaano nirindhanah, udaano nama pavanastatasya-urthvai pravartatey/
Bhuktaaanaamambu bhakshyaanamadho gati nirodhakrut, tatho Yenaambu naanaani krutaanna rasaatathaa, dattaah sa tasya aahvaadamaapadi prati-padyate/
Annaani yena dattaani shraddhaaputena chetasa, sopi triptimavaapnoti vinaapyannena vai tadaa/
yenaanrutaani preeti bhedah krutonacha, Aastikah shraddaa- nascha sa sukham Mrutyumrucchati/
(At the time of death, the position of human body would be such that ‘Pitta’ or bile becomes frothy and even without heat creates severe wind that breaks the functioning of the secret places of the body ; a wind present in the body named ‘Udaan’ and creates obsruction to the movement of water / life force into the body parts thus resulting in death. Those who donate water / food liberally; or those who are truthful and God-fearing; or who do not get victimised by the vices of the world are only saved of the severe crisis at that critical time and pass away peacefully.)
Those who respect Brahmanas and worship Devas, who speak without jealousy but softly and without hurting others, those who are modest and egoless; and those who could restrain desire, anger and hatred but follow Dharma (virtue) are blessed with ‘Sukha Mrityu’.Further, those who give away kaashtha (wood) as‘Daan’ (Charity) would not feel too cold at the time of death and provide ‘Chandan’do not suffer from extreme heat. Contrarily, those who do not take care of the hungry or thirsty, who teach or train in wrong ways of life; that provide false evidences or curse Vedas and the Virtuous, would face Yama dootas right in their faces but their desperate shouts and cries are never heard! The ‘Prani’ (dying person) tends to roll the eye balls, the speech gets incoherent, sense of recognition gets blurred, and breathing goes unusually fast up and down, and finally leaves the mortal world. The Yamadootas bundle up the ‘Jeevi’ (the mini body) with heavy ropes towards the southern direction and drag ‘it’ forcibly over thorns, iron nails, sharp stones, fiery paths, scorching sands and boiling oil fields as horrifying sounds are heard and frightful visuals and images are witnessed all along the route. On the twelfth day, the Prani tends to secure some relief from the ‘Tila Tarpan’(water with Tila seeds) and ‘Pindas’ made of cooked Rice / wheat flour as provided the ‘Karta’(Performer) of the obsequies.Thereafter the Prani approaches the most appalling ‘Yamapuri, where gets a glimpse of the dark coloured, most scaring, blood red eyed, and highly authoritive Yama Dharmaraja whose decisions are equitable, unbiased and irrevocable, taking account the detailed account of the pluses and minuses of the deeds of the Prani as recorded by the most accurate and unfailing Supreme Computer. Those Pranis who are ‘Midyhavadis’ (Protagonist of Falsity) and ‘Midhya Saakshis’ (Evidences of Falsity) or Killers of cows, Brahmanas, Parents, Well-wishers, Women, Close Ascociates; those who usurp land, commit rape, and such other serious offences are consigned to ‘Raurava Naraka’which is two thousand yojanas far and wide ‘Agni Kunda’ ( Fire Pit), where the entire treatment is by way ofroasting, burning, scorching and frying. After getting the due punishment, in Raurava or in any other Naraka., the Prani is reborn taking into the stock of Sin still retained as ‘Sanchita’ or carry forward and the kind of species as destined for the rebirth in any form ranging from a tree, waterbody, worm, bird, fly, animal, or a human being; among the human beings too, rebirth would take place as per the destiny decided by Lord Yamadharma Raja; the rebirth could be in any ‘Varna’ as a Brahmana, or a Kshatriya, or  Vyasya or a Shudra; as a man or woman; in a rich, medium or poor financial standing; with mental capability or as a flop etc. There could t be infinite permutations or combinations of rebirth as per the decision of Dharmaraja grossly called as destiny.
Recyling of Further Human Life

‘Jatismara’ Sumati described to his father Mahamati about the origin and evolution of human life:
Nishekam Manava Sreenaam beejam proktam rajasyatha,
vimukta maatro narakaastvargadwaapi prapadyathe/
Tenaabhi bhuutamtatsthairyayaati beejadwayam Pitah,
Kalalatvam budbudatvam thatah peshitvamevacha/
peshyaastathaa yatha beejaandakuraadi samudhbavah,
angaanaam cha thathotpatthih panchanaamanu bhaagashah/

(At the time of menses, a woman converts male sperm into her womb and both the seeds settle down while two eggs out of the circled liquid are created as ‘Ankurs’ which gradually divide to take shapes as fingers, eyes, nose, face, ears etc.; further sub-divide as nails etc.and then grow skin, body hairs and head hair. In other words, just as a coconut is grown, a baby grows along with the ‘garbhakosha’ inside the abdomen and turns upside down with the baby’s head turned down too. The baby’s growth process would be completed within the nine-month period before the delivery commecing the process of linking both the eggs. The growth process is enabled by the food intake of the woman and its essence;
Naadi chaapyayani naama naabhyaam tasyanibhadyathe,
Streenaam Tathantrasushirye saa nibadyopajaayathey/
kramaanti bhuktapeetaani Streenaam Garbhodarey yatha,
thairaapyaayati deho sow janthuvriddhimupaiti vai
(A ‘naadi’ named ‘Aapyaayani’ in the feminine ‘naabhi’ carries the intake of food and drink and enables the growth of the foetus by satisfying it). The Praani resolves that after its entry into the world, it would never ever go through this torment of ‘Garbha nivas’ surrounded by blood, excreta and feces, but indeed that dreadful existence inside the abdomen is erased from its memory as soon as the baby enters the world with an unbearable nothingness which gradually enlivens with the touch of wind all around.Then ‘Maya’ or illusion covers up the Praani who has had sub-conscious feelings and sensitivities.The baby gradually gets used to the new life thus slowly but steadily entering the life’s cycle of joys and sorrows till death overcomes the life again!

Fruits of ‘Punya’ (Rewards of Virtue / Goodness)

Kindness, noble association, noble activities aimed at the ‘Paraloka’, Truthfulness, espousing the right causes of mankind; worship to Guru, Devas, Rishis and Siddharshis; Sadhu Sangam (Company of Sadhus), Practice of Good Actions, Mitrata or Friendship and constant ‘Namasmarana’ (recitation) of Bhagavan are all acts of magnificence worth emulation!

Having given an account of the results of Sins as also the adverse effects by way of retribution, the Jatismara Son Sumati asked his father to convert concentrate on holy tasks in the subsequent period of life by switching over from ‘Grihasth Ashram’ to ‘Vanaprasth Ashram’ and earn as much ‘Punya’ (rewards) as possible and intensify the process of alignment of the Self with ‘Paramatma’ or the Stage of ‘Nidwanda’ (Non-Duality) or Unity and of ‘Nishparigraha’or the negation of want or favour.This State of Bliss is possible only through Yoga and control of the Five Elements like Water, Fire, Air etc.

Eligibility to achieve Salvation-Examples of Kaushiki and Anasuya as ‘Pativratas’

 Son Sumati explained to his father about the causation of the State of Bliss viz. Yoga which conquers ‘Bhautika Padaardhaas’ (physical material) /worldly shackles) so that there would be no involvement of the cycle of births and deaths. In this context, he cited the example of Dattatreya Deva. There was a Brahmana named Kaushika who was a leper by virtue of his fate but he had Kaushiki as the ‘Pativrata’ devoted to her husband. She would perform all physical services to the husband of cleaning, washing and all other ablutions to this extent of removing body rejects and the blood oozing from his wounds.

The disabled husband was short tempered and nagging but she considered him as her Deva and worshipped him, fulfilling each and every desire of his. Once the husband longed to be in company of a lady whom he had seen in the morning. The wife searched for her all over with a view to beg her to be with him despite his contageous disease; she would try to locate her somehow, offer her lot of money and also try to convince her in the name of mercy! The wife carried the husband on her shoulders at the night time but unfortunately due to darkness, she tripped on the road side and his legs hit a Sage Mandya in deep meditation. The angry Sage gave a curse that whosoever disturbed his meditation would die before the Sun rise by the next morning. Having heard the curse of the Sage, the ‘Pativrata’ made the return ‘Pratigya’ (challenging vow) that Sun would not appear on the Sky and the night would never be terminated. All the Devas were frightened at the Challenge of the Pativrata and wondered what would happen to the entire Universe in the absence of Swadhyaaya, Vashatkaara, Swadha and Swaahaa viz. Sun God, as a result of this unfortunate development! In the absence of days and nights, there would not be months and Seasons, no ‘Ayanaas’ (Uttarayana and Dakshinaayana), no count of Years, and no concept of ‘Kaala Gyana’ or of Time. If there were no Sun Rise, there would not be ‘Snaanaas’ nor daily Rituals, no Yagnas, no offerings to Devas through Agni (Fire), no crops to generate food due to drought and thus Universal Balance would be shaken up. Devas prayed to Brahma who advised them to approach the ‘Maha Pativrata’. Devi Anasuya, the wife of Sage Atri and daughter of Kardama Muni. Anasuya advised Kaushiki about the enormous loss to the World as a result of her Pratigna. Women have the unique task of performing service to husbands while men have other duties like Rituals and that she was proud of Kaushiki as a Pativrata. Even Gods descended to request her and that itself was a proof of her achievement. But the most essential task at that hour would be to facilitate Sun to rise and hence should withdraw her Pratigya. Finally Anasuya declared:
Yatha Bhatru Samamna anyamaham pashyami Devatam,
 thena satyaena viproyam punarjeevatvanamah.
(If I had never known any Deity as important as my husband, then the Brahmana Kaushik would be reborn afresh devoid of any disease!).
Thanks to Anasuya’s intervention, the crisis was averted and the Devas blessed her that Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara would be born with Rajasika Guna as Soma (Moon), Vishnu as Dattatreya with Satvika Guna and Siva as Durvasa with Tamasika Guna.Avadhuta Dattatreya as an Avatar of distinction
Considered as ‘Dutta’ or awarded by Trimurtis and born to Sage‘Atreya’ and Sati Anasuya, Dattatreya is a combined ‘Avatar’ (Incarnation). He was a mystic Saint Par Excellence called ‘Avadhuta’ or of the eccentric type. The word ‘Ava’ denotes ‘bad materials’ and ‘dhuta’ denotes ‘washed away’ thus meaning that he washed away all bad things.Such a Person is stated to be of Pure consciousness in human form.  [Depicted as a Three headed Avatar, representing the Three Gods of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva; the Three ‘Gunas’ of Rajasik, Satvik and Tamasik nature; Three Stages of Concsiousness viz. waking, dreaming and dreamless  Sleep; and the Thee Time Capsules of Past, Present and Future, Dattatreya is picturised as seated in meditation along with his Shakti, under a ‘Udumbara’ Tree of fulfillment of desires on a Rock- a Gyana Peetha, along with Four Dogs denoting the Four Vedas.He was considered as the Guru of ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ or the Eight-folded Yoga comprising Yama (Truthfulness and Morality), Niyama (Cleanliness and discipline), Asana (Right Posture), Pranayama (Control of Life Force), Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses from Wordly objects and desires), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Alignment of Super Consciousness with Almighty). The main Principles of ‘Dattatreya-following’ are Self-Reailisation and of God, Inter-relation of God-Man and Creation, Overcoming Ego by Yoga and Renonuciation, and Gyana or Enlightenment and the inavitability of a Guru.] Even from the childhood, Dattatreya was full of ‘Vairagya’ (Renunciation), but his followers and admirers were several. He always desired to have privacy, introspection and aloofness and shunned adulation, popularity and proximity. That was why he avoided company and preferred staying indoors. With a view to escape from the attention of Muni Kumars, he meditated on the banks of a Sarovar incognito in disguise for innumerable years. He was inside water practising ‘Ahstanga Yoga’ (Eight Limbed Yoga) and finally emerged with a façade of a being a drunkard, a debauch and a degraded person devoid of morals and social values. He displayed nudity with a youthful and coquettish woman, in obscene poses, while drinking and loose-mannered fashion. Despite these efforts of being corrupt, care-less and licentious, the followers of Dattatreya did not get deterred but made great efforts to get closer to him. As King Kartaveeryarjuna, the thousand armed tyrant who was a great devotee of Dattatreya was killed by Parasurama as the latter’s father the great Sage Jamadagni’s death was avenged, the Ministers and Royal Family members sought to install the Prince Arjun as the King, but he refused as Kingship would lead to violence, lack of mental peace and death. There upon, Sage Garg advised the reluctant Prince to visit Sahyadri Mountain where Mahatma Dattatreya stayed as he was the incarnation of Bhagavan Vishnu and the illustrious son of Sage Atri and Sadhvi Anasuya an outstanding Maha Pativrata. Sage Garg told Prince Arjun that Indra was badly defeated in a battle with ‘Daityas’(Demons) and consulted Deva Guru Brihaspati who replied that Indra should immediately worship and seek an audience with Dattatreya. Indra approached the latter but he said that he was not in a fit condition as he was drunk in the amorous and unclean company of a woman. Being aware of the misleading statement of Dattatreya, Indra replied that just as the powerful and auspicious Sun rays did not become impure by touching either a chandala or a Brahmana, the holy union of Lakshmi and Vishnu could never ever be construed as unclean and unholy! Mahatma Dattatreya smiled since He was only testing Indra’s sincerity. He then asked to challenge the most leading Daityas to a Battle in His presence at His Place; the Daityas assembled (into a trap) and asked to show up in the presence of Maha Lakshmi. The Daityas were mesmerised Devi Lakshmi’s form and face and even forgetting that they were challenged to a fight, became extremely passionate and when she hinted that she would like to leave to her abode, pushed aside her servants and lifted the ‘palki’on their heads. Dattatreya once again smiled and told Indra and Devas that for sure the Daityas would be defeated now as they kept Lakshmi on their head indicating that she would leave them all now. He explained:
 Nrunaam paadasthita Lakshminilayam samprapachhyati,
sakthnoscha samsthita vastram ratnam naanaa-vidham vasuh/
Ratnam naana-vidham vasuh/
kalatrada krodhasthapatya  Manorathanpuurayati purushaanaam hrudisthithaa/ Lakshmirlakshmivataam sreshthaa kantastha kantha bhushanam,
Abheeshta bandhu daaraischa tatha slesham pravaasibhih/
Mrushtaannam Vaakya laavanya majnaamavitathaam tatha,
 Mukhastithaa kavitvam cha yacchhatyu-dadhi sambhavaa/
sirotata samtyajati tathonyam yaatichashrayam,
seyam shirogata daityanaparisthitajaati saampratam/
(Devi Lakshmi when falls on the feet of human beings blesses them with happy homes, falls on either of the thighs bestows clothes and jewellery, on secret place blesses with life-partners, on the lap gives children, on the heart fulfills all the desires, on the neck gives ornaments on the necks, beloved distant relations and good company of women; if Lakshmi falls on the face of human beings she approves attraction and brightness of the visage, accomplishments and a literary outlook. But if Lakshmi falls on one’s head, then she is ready to leave the person concerned.) Thus, Dattatreya advised Devas to take up arms and attack since his vision would further weaken the Demons; also, when the Demons have committed the sin of becoming highly passionate over another person’s wife, their strength would get diluted. Devas attack over the Demons was readily succsessful and Indra regained his Throne in Swarga Loka. Sage Garg advised Prince Arjun, the son of Kartaveeryarjuna to pray to Dattatreya who gave the Prince considerable confidence and courage to face the institution of Kingship boldly.

Dhruva-Kuvalaashva and Ashvatara –Examples of Devotion, Duty and Determination

Jyatismara Sumati narrated to his father the illustration of a King Shatrujit who pleased Indra at one Yagna and blessed him with a son named Ritudwaja who grew into an ideal Prince with valour, intelligence and capability. He used to play with a few Brahmana and Vaishya boys, apart from the Princes of other Kingdoms too. All of them very were fond of him. Among the boys two sons of Nagaraj King of Rasatala Ashvatara called Tarun and Priyadarshan used to join the Prince in disguise for play.

In course of time the Prince and the Naga Boys became such thick friends that they used to play, bathe, sleep, eat and derive immense pleasure together; in short they admired him and considered him as a  model human being.The Naga King Ashvathar realised that his sons were daily visiting Bhuloka and returning by the night but was convinced that they were on right track, imbibing all noble things of life and simultaneously learning from of their ideal friend Ritudwhaja.The Naga boys told their father that the Prince was inspired by the Story of Dhruva, son of a King Uttanapada of yore. The King had two wives Suniti and Suruchi and Dhruva and Uttama were the sons of the respective Queens. The King was highly fond of the younger Queen and once Uttama sought to climb the lap of the King, Dhruva too attempted to do the same, but Suruchi scolded Dhruva and said harshly that he did not deserve to attempt same as Uttama, for which Dhruva would have to perform ‘Tapas’ (Penance) to Lord Narayana for long. The young heart of Dhruva was badly offended and approached his mother Suniti who felt sorry for her son and confirmed that indeed sincere ‘Tapas’ was the singular solution and nothing else! Dhruva resolved to do so and desired to proceed to the forests. On way Sage Narada met the angry and anguished Dhruva who narrated the incident about the nasty treatment meted out to him by his step mother and strangely enough of his father’s indifference and his mother’s helplessness.
The Sage cautioned Dhruva that great ascetics, Yogis and Sages found the path of Penance and Sacrifice was impossible to follow for a mere lad like him and he might follow other means to achieve his objective but Dhruva was decisive and resolute which impressed Narada and directed Dhruva to go to Madhuvana, be of clean physique and heart, control his limbs and senses and meditate Narayana by the Mantra ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ till the Lord would appear before him. He strengthened his control of senses day by day, month by month and year after year and as he narrowed the outer awareness and widened the inner revelation he absorbed more and more of Narayana as an Omni Present Vision. He fell into trances which grew further and for longer durations and discovered that clearer Images were visible and audible. The Lord finally stood before him andhe did not even know how to praise Him, when He fondled the boy’s cheeks, his Hymns of Praise and deep meaning of his thoughts got generated as the Divinity manifested its Unending, All Pervasive, and Supreme Energy got spread far and wide his mental Horizon. Lord Vishnu blessed Dhruva saying that he would carve out a Place on the Sky which would be the Central Gravity of various Celestial Bodies viz. Dhruva Loka and that Dhruva would be the Chief of that Loka; meanwhile, the Lord said that he would be a benevolent and valiant King after his father’s retirement and rule his Kingdom for sixty three thousand years in good health and thereafter would reach his Loka with considerable fanfare. Thus the Lord did not provide Dhruva the blessing of immediate Salvation, as Dhruva had to prove his worth to his Parents, his step mother Suruchi and his cousin brother and the World. Unfortunately, his cousin was killed in a forest by Yakshas and the heroic Dhruva resisted the magical illusions created by the Yakshas and defeated them all and the Chief of Kubera had to seek pardon from Dhruva as Kubera knew well that Lord Vishnu Himself bestowed unprecedented boons to Dhruva!
Resuming the Story of King Shatrujit, his son Ritudwaja, King Ashvathara of Nagaloka and the sons; the Jatismara Sumati told his father that a learned Brahmana named Galava brought a sturdy horse to King Shatrujit and complained that some Daityas kept on tormenting me and my Tapasya in my Ashram by taking various forms of wild animals and destroying objects in my Ashram, especially material of worship; when a sigh of annoyance was heaved by the Brahmana, there got dropped from above a robust horse and a voice from the sky said that the latter was capable of going around the entire ‘Kuvalaya’ including Prithvi, the lower Regions like Patala, the Sky, mountains,Oceans etc. but only the son of Shatrujit named Ritudwaja could mount and control not only the horse but also save Galva from the trouble of Daityas and kill them. King Shatrujit gave permission to his son to ride the horse to the Ashram of Galva Muni.
The Daitya who had been troubling the Sage and disciples in the Ashram appeared in the form of a hog and the Prince Ritudwaja renamed as Kuvalayaswa leapt on the Holy horse and ran after it. He wounded the Daitya with his powerful arrows and the latter tried to run away but Kuvalayaswa chased the Daitya till both of them reached the cliff of a mountain where a huge chasm was faced and both the Daitya and the Prince fell down in a steep abyss in darkness and lost sight of the hog form of the Daitya in disguise. When he landed safe, he found big Palaces, wide roads and an attractivley designed City and Kuvalayaswa realised that he was in Patala loka. As he roamed around, he found a woman entering a nice building and asked her as to where be him and who was she! She did not reply but he followed her as they entered a large, impressive Hall tastefully decorated; he found an outstandingly attractive young lady in a bed and the Prince was spellbound to see her, but she too was taken aback and swooned thinking that the Stranger might be a Demi-God, or a Gandharva or a Naga or a Daitya in disguise, but surely might not be a Prince of Bhu-Loka possibly.The woman whom the Prince followed started to converse saying that her companion was named Madalasa- the daughter of a Gandharva King whom a Daitya forcibly carried to Patala from a garden in Gandharva loka, that he had been pressurising the lady to marry, that the Daitya had been playfully tormenting a Sage named Galva in various ways at his Ashram on Bhuloka, that there was a prophesy saying a Prince riding a horse would kill the Daitya and make a feat of travelling across the entire World, that her companion Madalasa would be rescued by the Prince and be married to him, that her name was Kundala whose husband was killed by the same Daitya and that she too was brought by him as a prisoner. As Kundala’s narration was over, the Princess recovered from her shock and the Prince revealed that his name was Kuvalayaswa, the son of King Shatrujit, the Prince under reference! Madalasa and the Prince were married in the style of Gandharvas and rode back to Galava’s Ashram, took the Sage’s blessings for killing the Daitya and marrying Madalasa and returned to the King with Madalasa; doubtless the King was extremely happy at the achievements of the Prince and celebrated the weddingformally, amidst great joy and solemnity. After the couple spent time together with happiness, King Shatrujit instructed Kuvalayaswa to proceed on a ‘Pradakshina’ (circumambulation) of the Universe as envisaged by the Celestial voice which was heard by Sage Galava. While the Prince was performing the Pradakshina and engaged in the task of eliminating Danavas, the brother of the Daitya who was killed at the Ashram of Sage Galava, named Kalaketu laid a trap to the Prince who was now on the Pradaksina and approached the latter disguised as a Sage and sought the help of protecting a ‘Jala-Yagna’ to Varuna Deva from Daityas and requested the Prince to give away a necklace made of Gold for the purpose of the Sacrifice. The Prince agreed to protect the Yagna and gave away the Golden chain too. As Kalaketu drowned in the waters of the River Yamuna for performing the false Varuna Yagna by keeping the Prince as a guard, the trickster Danava went to the Court of King Shatrujit and lied that the Prince was killed while protecting the Varuna Yagna. This news of the Prince’s death created chaos in the Kingdom; the King fainted and on recovery paid glorious tributes to the mighty Prince, the entire Kigdom mourned the untimely termination of a highly celebrated, most valiant and illustrious Kuvalayaswa. The tragedy was followed by yet another calamity viz. the demise of Princess Madalasa as a result of the distress of the Prince’s disaster. Kaleketu had thus avenged the killing of his brother Daitya.
Soon enough, the Prince returned to the Capital City; his Subjects and moreso the King were overjoyed. But the blow of Madalasa’s demise overpowered the Prince who had virtually turned him out as a lunatic. He performed the last rites of his beloved and resolved that he would never wed again in life! The Naga boys who were great friends of Kuvalayaswa narrated the tragic developments in the latter’s life to their father King Ashvatara and lamented that they were not able to provide any solace to their grand companion, nor reciprocate the friendliness, affection and consideration that he showered on them so earnestly and profusely, that they were fit to be insensible and ungrateful. Naga King Ashvatara told his sons that human beings would not even make an effort despite their desire because the tasks were somewhat difficult. But a determined mind coupled with sincere effort could achieve miracles.He thus conveyed his resolve to perform meditation on Himalayas at Plukshavataran Tirtha to Devi Saraswati by fasting and Rituals; he prayed her to say: “You are the ‘Swarup’or Form of ‘Satya’ (Reality) and ‘Asatya’ (Illusion) bestowing worldly happiness as also Salvation alike.You are the ‘Akshar’ (Eternal / Knowledge) since the entire ‘Alphabets’ or the Basic Letters of Language are embodied in you in a miniscule outline”.
Aksharam Paramam Brahma Jagatschaitatsharaatmikam,
Daarunyavasthito vahirbhaumascha Paramaanavaha/
Tatha tvayisthitam Brahma Jagaschaidamaseshatah,
Omkaaraakshara Samsthaanam yatthey Devi Sthiraasthiram/
Tatra Mantratriam Sarvamasti Yaddeva Naasticha,
Trayo Lokaastrayo Devastrividyam Paavakatrayam/
Treeni Jyotomshi Vargaascha trayo Dharmaadayastatha,
Trayo Gunaastrayah Shabdaastrayo Doshaas-Tathashramah/
Trayah Kaalaastathavasthah Pitarorahanirshaadayah,
Yetanmatra trayam Devi tat Ruupam Sarasvati/
[All the Alphabets are personified within You; the transient Universe as also the Everlasting Parabrahma alike are within You; both the Sky and Fire are present within You just as in Fire wood; the totalality of real and imaginary material of the World exists in You; The Word OM is also set in You and is embedded as firmly and permanent as You are! You are the personification of Three Lokas, Three Vedas, Tree Vidyas, Three Agnis, Tree Jyotis, Three Vargas, Three Gunas like Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic nature; Three Shabdas (Sounds), Three Ashramas (Brahmacharya, Garhastya and Vanaprastha), Three Kaalas (Morning, Evening and Night), Three Avasthas (Balya or Childhood, Samasarika or Adulthood, and Vardhakya or Old age) and King Ashvatara further prayed to Devi Sarasvati saying that he neither had the power nor imagination to praise her and requested her to grant him the boons of unique knowledge and proficiency in music, its Grammar, usage and application as also expertise in Sounds, Swaras, Notes, Tones, Tunes, Rhymes andRhythms. As Sarasvati was pleased to bless him, the Naga King then felt that the next step would be comparatively easier to approach Maha Deva as He should be pleased with Sapta Swaras and the endless applications of ‘Vadyas’ or musical instruments that he was blessed by Sarasvati especially during ‘Siva Thandava Tri-Sandhyas’ (Dances of Morning, afternoon and Evenings by Lord Siva). Indeed, as expected, Maha Deva was extremely delighted at the musical proficiency displayed by Ashvatara who sought the boon of giving him a daughter like Madalasa the young wife of Kuvalayaswa just before she died. As Maha Deva granted the boon, the Naga King and moreso the Naga boys were pleasantly shocked. They resumed their friendship with the Prince who had earlier taken a vow not to marry again and prevailed on him to visit their Palace in Nagaloka for a change since the Prince was still not recovered the grief of the untimely demise. During Kuvalayeswa’s visit to Nagaloka, he felt he had an illusory vision of Madalasa at the Palace of Ashvatara and requested to possibly repeat it once again for he was missing her badly. The Naga boys confirmed that the illusion was real and gave the entire sequence of the events that preceeded the unbelievable efforts made by their father! Prince Kuvalayaswa was speechless, profusely thanked and prostrated to the Naga King who had since become his father-in-law. Both the families of King Shatrujit and King Ashvatara had a happy union.

Duties of a Model King as prescribed by Queen Madalasa

After a lapse of time the Kuvalayaswa and Madalasa couple was blessed with three sons who were named Vikrant, Subahu and Shatrumardan which were typical Kshatriya names befitting Kingship. However as they were blessed with a fourth son, Madalasa requested  her husband to name the boy as Alark and decided to bring him up as an ‘Atma Gyani’ (Knowledge of the Soul). As the boy grew up, his mother blessed him to unfold his personality as of a Rajarshi with ideal virtues

A model King should be able to conquer ‘Arishdvargas’, the Six Traditional Enemies viz. Kama (Desire), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Avarice), Moha (Infatuation), Mada (Arrogance) and Matsarya (Jealousy) and overcome the Illusions of the unreal and ephemeral world. He should be able to control the ‘Panchendriyas’-the mind, tongue, nose and ears and eyes. He should endeavour to acquire fame and good will; be afraid of criticism of others and be objective; do firm up good relations among relatives in ‘Balya dasa’/ childhood, obey the instructions of parents in Kaumara Dasha or the Stage of the Youth, secure faith from wife during grihastha period as an House holder and enter into Vanaprasthya or forests life in Old age; and on assuming Kingship, Alark should obtain goodwill and happiness among associates, protect Sadhus (the Virtuous) and Brahmanas, organise Yagnas and other propitious tasks, destroy the enemy elements and ensure an ideal position in Para Lokas.
 Prince Alark sought further explanation from his mother as to how to balance Effective Administration with the Objective of Attainment of Salvation. His mother said that the foremost responsibility would be ensure the welfare and contentment of the ‘Praja’ (Public) and in the process should go all out to destroy the forces inimical to the Public; while so doing the Six ways of dialogue would include: ‘Sandhi’(Treaty), ‘Vigraha’ (War), ‘Yana’ (marching against Enemy), ‘Asana’(detachment), ‘Samarasya’  (Seeking protection of a more powerful Agency) and ‘Dwaidhivibhava’ (Dual policy). As regards balancing the Effective Administration and Destruction of the Evil vis-à-vis the Control of Indrias and the ‘Arishtvargas’, the interrelationship of the Two is indeed clear: ‘Yudhishthar’was unable to ‘Kama’ and played the game of Chess and lost the Kingdom, Self, Wife and Brothers; it was ‘Krodha’ that Anuhlad’s father met with his end; it was due to ‘Lobha’ that Ila was destroyed; it was due to ‘Mada’ that the King Vena faced destruction to Bhu Devi’s curse that there would be no crops in his Kingdom due to famine and some of Brahmanas  pulled out evil out of his thighs; it was ‘Moha’ of Puranjaya, Grandson of Ikshvaaku and son of Sadada who out of the Vamsa’s pride,agreed to take the form of a bull so that Indra sat on his hump and killed Asuras but got killed by the Demons in the battle; and the ‘Matsara’ of Abhiman, son of Anushka, which led to his end.Thus explained Madalasa to Prince Alark patiently hearing to his mother in the context of Good Administration resulting from Self-Control of ‘Indriyas’. She also illustrated the examples of a crow known for its alertness, a cuckoo for its cleverness, a deer for its watchfulness in not getting caught, a serpent with the capability of killing even a mighty creature with a drop of poison, a peacock gifted of spreading its wings denoted as wealth and Kingdom, a swan able to filter good and bad qualities and a hen with the characteristics of waking up early and saving womenfolk by vigilant sounds. An ideal King should be cool like Moon, radiant and scorching like Sun and eveready to blaze and spread out like Fire.The Kingdom must be administered in a highly virtuous manner on the same lines as Indra, Surya, Yamaraja, Chandra and Vayu, ie.like Indra satisfies the people in the Universe by bestowing optimal rains for four months a year, a King should satisfy the Subjects with charities of money etc. for four months; like Surya absorbs water for eight months a year, the King should collect taxes in a manner that the Citizens are least hurt; like Yama takes away people from the World any body without distinction or exceptions, the King should treat the Subjects without favour on equal footing; like Chandra makes every one happy and peaceful, the King too ought to make everybody likewise; and like Vayudeva provides the vital breathing and wind, the King  too must perform likewise.Dhramatma Raja should thus excellent governance, relief and contentment in a manner that the Varnashrama Dharma is followed by letter and spirit.

Varnashrama Dharma with emphasis on Brahmanas

Devi Madasala described to her son Alarka the broad Principles of Varnashrama Dharma. ‘Daan’(Charity), ‘Adhyayan’ (Learning) and Yagna (Ritualistic Sacrifices and Agni Homams) constitute the three major duties of Brahmanas; the derivative duties are to facilitate Yagnas to be organised by other’s Yagnas implying the acceptance of Danaas, ‘Adhyapan’ (Teaching) and farming for his family. In addition to Daan, Adhyayan and Yagna, the Kshatriya community has to ensure the security of the Society internally and from outside forces/enemies, assume the responsibility for its Peace, Finances and Administration.

The Vaishya Community has the duties of trade, commerce, agriculture and Cattle nurture in addition to Daan, Adhyanan and Yagnas. Shudras have responsibility of assisting the tasks of the other communities afore mentioned, especially Service to Soldiers, cattle care and retailing.
As Brahmanas are concerned, they might be free from the restrictions in a comparative manner till their ‘Upanayana Samskaras’ or the Ritual wearing the Yanopaveet (the HolyThread) in respect of ‘Ahaar’ and ‘ Vyavahar’ ( Food and other General Matters). Thereafter however, restrictions become operative through the day and night. A Brahmachari moves to his Guru’s residence and follows a disciplined routine like ‘Swadhyaya’ (Study the self), ‘Agni Susrusha’, ‘Snaana’, ‘Bhikshatana’ (Soliciting food grains by moving around), assisting Guru in  the tasks assigned, learning from him, and after achieving the stage of Perfection, for seeking the permission of the Guru entering ‘Grihastashram’ through Vedic Wedding, earning by one’s own earning capacity and fortune, look after wife and children, parents, other dependents, destitutes, animals, birds etc; perform daily rituals of Pancha YagnasViz. Deva Yagna (Worship of ‘Ishta Devata’ or Deity of choice); Brahma Yagna (Study of Vedas, Scriptures and religious books to enhance Divine Knowledge); Pitra Yagna (Contemplating of theTeachings of Fore-fathers, Family Gurus, Sages and well-wishers to preserve family traditions); Bhuta Yagna (Extending help and sympathy to the needy, including animals and other species); and Nara Yagna (respect to elders, ladies, and co-human beings to maintain social and cultural ties). The Grihastis (House Holders) must also give away charities according to one’s ability and aptitude. He should also satisfy Athithis (Guests), relatives and servants, again as per maximum possibility. In fact Athithi Yagna is an important off-shoot of Nara Yagna, as turning away Atithis who turn up unannounced need to be fully cared for, since their curses take away a good stock of the ‘Punya’ and more over the sins of Atithis are passed on to the hosts! Thus after the daily Yagnas are executed earnestly, the Grihastis redeem their debts and augment the stock of their virtues.  Thereafter the Grihasti (House-holder) gets old and retires from active life and would enter Vanaprastha Ashram by ensuring upkeep of health and worship to Almighty, as a stepping stone to the next Ashram of Sanyasa (Renunciation).
Devi Madalasa continued further as follows : The general expectation of Devas, Pitras, Brahmanas and various others is that Grihastas would perform Rituals, provide Anna (food) and fulfill other needs.In fact, Grihasti is normally looked upon as the unique provider and fulcrum of all pious acts of life, especially in the context of Vedas and the Dharma in the form of ‘Dhenu’ (Cow) embodying the Rig Veda as her stomach, Yajur Veda as her middle portion, Sama Veda as her Face, Ishtapurti ( Fullfiller of Desires) as her neck, her horns as Sadhu Sukta; Shanti and Health her body-sides, and milk-yielding ‘Stanas’ ( breast-nipples) represent Swahaakar (Deva Ganas), Swadhakaar (Pitruganas), Vashatkaar (Rishiganas) and Hantakaar (Manushyaganas). Thus Grihastis (especially Brahmanas) should worship sincerely the Suraganas, Pitruganas, and Muniganas. They have to offer ‘Jala tarpanas’ and Pujas to Devas, ‘Agni Tarpana’ and ‘Bali’ (offering of cooked rice with Akshatas) to Brahma. ‘Bali daan’ (Sacrifice) is offered to Dhanvantari at the East but showing North of ‘Homakunda’, Indra in the direction of East, Yama and Varuna to the West, and Chandra towards North. Vaiswa Deva Bali is also to be performed in the morning and evening in favour of helpless animals, birds and other species like ants and flies.

Some significant Do’s and Don’ts as human responsibility

The general expectaion is that Grihastas wake up at the ‘Brahma Muhurta’-that is, well before the Sunrise with a resolve to follow the commands of Four ‘Purusharthas’ viz. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and with a pure mind sit up facing East with Prayers for the success of the day. After performing the ablutions and ‘Snaan’, the ‘Purva Sandhya Vandana’ should be performed even when Stars appear on the Sky and in the same manner, ‘Sayam Sandhya Vandana’ is performed when Sun still appears on the Sky.Daily Homas also should be performed pursuant to the ‘Sandhya Vandanam’.

Care must be taken not to view the Sun Globe at the Sunrise and Sunset timings.
(Sayampratastatha Homam kurvati Niyamaatmavaan,
Naayaastamaye Bimbamudeekshet vivaswathah)
Tasks like hair combing, looking at mirror, cleaning the teeth, and Deva Tarpan before the afternoon, while urinating and defecating ought to be avoided at Tirthas, Kshetras, road side fields as also Goshalas (Cowsheds). Acts like defecation, copulation and release of hair, ash (Bhasma) and such material must never be done in water bodies. Complaining of food not of one’s choice otherwise edible must be refrained, especially in a haughty and offensive tone. Fumingly hot and highly salted food should be avoided. After ‘achamana’ at the formal conclusion of food, nibbling further is to be avoided, conversation must not be carried-on nor ‘Veda Adhyaya’ should be performed. Once having risen after having food, touching of Cows, Brahmanas, Agni, and one’s own head be shunned and viewing Sun, Moon, and Stars be avoided. Performing Puja and Bhojan wearing a single cloth is not advisable. Even bathing and sleeping with a single cloth is to be avoided. Never wear the clothes, footwear, ornaments, Yagnopaveet, kamandalu and garlands already worn or used by others. Never resort to oil massage and copulation on Chaturdasi, Ashtami, Amavasya / Pournami and on festival days. Never spread thighs and feet nor keep foot over another foot while sitting. Never provoke/aggravate persons who are fools, argumentative, insane, unhappy, angry, ugly, crooked and deformed, by hurting their sensibilities or Self-pride. Do not sleep keeping head to North and West. Do not take a bath during night excepting during eclipse timings. Avoid sleep, study, meals and copulation during Sandhyas or mornings and evenings. Perform Pujas to Devas during ‘Purvaahna’ or before noon, ‘Madhyamaahna’ to Pitras and Godmen / religious persons in the evenings.
Irresponsibly blaming Gurus, Pativratas, Yagnasheel, and the Virtuous persons even in light-vein manner would attract heavy sins. Wearing unworthy dress, uttering non- propitious words, and behaving in unbecoming manner are to be avoided at any cost. The company of spendthrifts, misers, enemies, the belligerent, blame-worthy, suspicious, non- religious and unreliable persons must be given up at once. But, six categories of Persons viz. ‘Sahrudaya’ ( Good-hearted), ‘Dikshit’ (Dedicated), ‘Bhupati’ (King), ‘Snaatak’ (Guru), ‘Svasura’ ( father-in-law), and Ritviks (Homa kartas) are worthy of ‘Arghyapradaan’, ‘Puja’ and ‘Pradakshina’; richly deserving award of ‘Madhuparkas’(clothes) for commending them would mean respecting one’s own self! A Place is not worthwhile staying if there is no provision of at least four Materials viz. a willing provider of loans, a kind and effective ‘Vaidya’ (Physician), a Srotriva’ (Purohit) and a River of running water suppy.

Queen Madalasa confers Kingship to Alarka
Besides Raja Dharma, Varnashrama Dharma and Grihasta Dharma, Devi Madasala taught to her son Alarka about the details of ‘Nithya Naimittika Shraddha Dharma’, ‘Paarvana Shraddha Dharma’, and ‘Prashasthaapratishtha’ Dharmas in the context of Shraaddhaas; Sadaachaara Varnana, Varjyaavarjya concepts etc. and thus made him an erudite scholar as a model King, an ideal Kshatriya and a warrior. The parents got him married and blessed him to prove himself as a perfect Grihasta too.

Since Ritudhwaja retired to ‘Vaanaprastha’ already, she too desired to join him in the forests and decided to make Alarka the King by ignoring her other elder sons, as their worth was by far the less compared to the unusual training and receptive capacity of Alarka. Queen Madalasa therefore presented a golden ring and blessed him to become an illustrated King and told him that there would be difficult circumstances to be faced in the discharge of his duties but due to the knowledge that he acquired so far would indeed stand him in good stead. However, should there be extraordinary and most complicated crises to be faced, then he might open the ring and read the minutely written letters of advice and follow the same. King Alarka then reigned for several years as a King of Virtue and fame, without favour or fear and his eldest brother, Subahu who went to forests already, came to know that his younger brother was proving well he became proud of him. But soon enough Subahu got jealous and became a victim of his associate Kasiraj whose machinations and divisive politics gradually thinned down the financial and other strengths of King Alarka who had indeed reached a really critical position in his administration. That was the time when Alarka remembered his mother’s advice to open the minute letters scripted inside the ring that she gave him. As he opened the script, the advice of his mother was very clear: Sangah sarvaatmanaa thyajyah sa chetyaktum na shakyathey (If you are not capable, then exit the Society!).The Inscription further said: If you are not able to leave the Society, then you should join the Sadhus (righteous men), since the company of Sadhus alone would prove to be your medicine.

King Alarka approaches Dattatreya for solace

King Alarka approached Mahatma Dattatreya as a ‘Sharanardhi’ (refuge) and prayed to him to guide him and wipe out his distress. Dattatreya replied that the King was indeed truthful as he made a confession that he was suffering from anguish. He then asked Alarka to carry out an introspection as to who was he? What kind of grief did he suffer from? King Alarka tried to figure out the inter-relationship of the Soul and the three kinds of basic problems of humanity viz. Adhi-Bhoutika, Adhyatmika and Adhi Daivika, ie the troubles related to physical, internal and God-made categories

He reasoned that he was not a component of ‘Panchabhutas’-Prithivi ( Earth), ‘Aapas’ (Water), ‘Tejas’ (Fire), ‘Vayu’ (Wind) and ‘Aakash’ (Sky), but has the sensibilities related to these Entities. Even if he were not the ‘Sharir’ (Physique), he however had the independent feelings that led to the complexes of Inferiority or Superior feelings. Indeed, it would be essential to discard those kinds of feelings by an enlightened Gyani. After all, when a person is aware that essentially a human body is not eternal, then why should there be the feelings of happiness or otherwise; especially when there was a realisation that these feelings were made by the mind but not the inner soul which was free from such illusive fears. Alarka thus analysed the current situation arising out of the state of his mind, since he was not the body, nor the mind, and not even his superficial consciousness. Thus analysed, the King Alarka convinced himself that there was no harm done if his elder brother Subahu desired to take over Kingship, then there was no need for resisting the idea! Also, desire and attachment propelled by ego and prestige are the root causes of happiness or grief.
Mahatma Dattatreya stated:
Ahami tyam kurotpanno mameti skandhavaanmahaan, Gruhakshetroccha shakhaascha putradaaraadi pallavah/
Dhanadhanya maha patro naikakaala pravardhitah, Punyaapunyaagra pushpascha Sukha duhkha maaphalah
(‘Ahamkaar’ or sense of self is the seed which produces a huge tree of ‘Agyaan’ or Ignorance; ‘Mamatva’ or selfishness is the trunk of the tree; Gruha (Abode) and Kshetra (Farm lands) are the high and large branches; wife and children are the tender leaves; ‘dhana dhanya’ or money and foodgrains viz. wealth are the enormous leaves; ‘Punyaapunya’ (Fruits of noble deeds or sins) constitute the major flowers and ‘Sukha Duhkkas’ or delight and misery are the end results.)
How could those human beings, who are tired of ‘Samsar’ (Life and Family matters) and seek shelter under the ‘Agyan’ Tree which is rooted in the lack of correct knowledge or awareness, ever consider to attain Salvaton? Only those noble persons who possess a sharp axe named ‘Vidya’ (Knowledge) could pull down the mammoth tree of ignorance and egocentricity with the active help of the heavy rocks of ‘Satsanga’!

Yogadhyaya (Study of Yoga), Yoga Siddhi (Achievement) and Yogicharya (Practice)
King Alarka expressed his gratitude to Mahatma Dattatreya that he gave him the solace in clearing his conscience about the eventualiy of stepping down from his throne in favour of his brother Subahu. But his doubt in his mind continued to waver and was not able to detach from natural strings. He desired to learn the art of disconnecting human psyche from Paramatma, so that there would not be a recurrence of ‘Punarjanma’ (Rebirth).
Dattatreya replied: Yogecha shaktividusham yena shreyah param bhavet, Muktiryogaatatha yogah samyakjnaa mahipathey /Sangaddoshod bhavah duhkha mamatwasakta chetasamam/ (Yogis are able to distinguish ‘Gyan’ from ‘Agyan’ and that is called ‘Mukti’; manifestation of Parabrahma takes place despite the natural features of the illusory world. From Yoga emerges ‘Moksha’, ‘Samyak Gyan’ (detailed analysis) comes from Yoga, ‘Duhkha’ (Sorrow) springs from Gyan; ‘Mamata’ (Sense of Belonging) comes from ‘Duhkha’. Further, Selflessness demolishes ‘Mamata’ and results in ‘Viragya’; this is the state suitable for Yoga or configuration of the Self with the Super Force. Yoga comprises ‘Pranaayaam’ which eliminates slip-ups or mistakes; ‘Dharana’ enables reduction of sins or at any rate, not adding to them; ‘Pratyahaara’ resists material desires and ‘Dhyaana’ not only burns up the wavering thoughts and blemishes but retains the alignment with the Supreme. The foremost step thus is to practise Pranaayaam which actually denotes wind-control or the regulation of both ‘Prana Vayu’ (inhaling of breath) at the entry points of nose and ‘Apana Vayu’ (exhaling of breath) at the exit point. Pranaayaam is in three forms, viz. Laghu (of twelve matras or units), Madhyam (double of the matras or of twenty matras), and ‘Uttareeya’ (further double of matras or of forty eight). Each ‘matra’ or the unit comprises of one ‘Nimesh’ and ‘Unmesha’ (inhale and exhale) together. By the first Pranaayaam, one should get sweat; the second should experience shivers; and the third Pranaayaam should be able to knock down sorrows and imperfections. Just as a trainer tames wild animals like elephants or lions and bring them under full control, a Yogi would be able to take full control of the animals; an elephant would obey the commands of the ‘Mahout’ and a lion would be trained to kill deers but not the Ring Master. Then there are four kinds of Pranaayaams, viz. Dhwasti, Praapti, Samvit and Prasad. ‘Dhwasti’ is the stage when the sinful deeds of known or unknown nature of the Yoga practitioner are washed out and blemishes of the ‘chitta’ or the mind are cleaned up; in the second stage of ‘Prapti’, the Yogis experience that stage when they are indeed accessible to ‘Ihika’ and ‘Amushmika’ (worldly and extra-terrestrial) desires but volantarily resist them; ‘Samvita’ is that superior stage of Yoga when exceptional Yogis enjoy an elevated status possessing  that kind of  ‘Gyaan Shakti’ with celestial vision and capacity like those of  Sun, Moon and Stars and possessing the awareness of each and every thing in the Universe like the knowledge of ‘Ateetha’ ( beyond one’s imagination), ‘Anaagata’ (not possible to visualise but can be identified), ‘Tirohita’ (unmanifested) and ‘Dooragrastha’ (distantly available) entities; and finally the ‘Prasad’ type of Pranayaama when the most hallowed Yogis possess the chitta (mind), Pancha Vaayu ( Prana, Apaana, Samaana, Udaana and Samaana Vayus), Indriyas ( Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue and Skin).    
After describing Pranaayam as an integral component of Yoga, Dattatreya explained about ‘Asanas’ (Seating Postures) among which the important ones are Padmaasana, Ardhaasana and Swastikaasana. While squatted with both the flat feet crossed on both the thighs, the Yoga Practitioner should focus on the tip of the nose; perform Pranaayama by controlling the breath or the life force; practise ‘Pratyahara’ or the process of abstraction by withdrawing the sense organs from worldly objects; then move on to the next stage of ‘Dhaarana’ by focussing the entire concentration on a single object; further on, get into the mode of ‘Dhyana’ by way of meditation or the most intense contemplation of the object and finally merge the total consciousness with Paramatma by way of ‘Samadhi’ or Liberation. This way, the Yogi’s deficiencies are overcome, a state of peaceful contentment is arrived at and the vision of Parabrahma is attained. As he intakes air through the nostrils, first it touches the naval, next the heart, the chest, the neck, the mouth, the tip of the nose, the eyes, the ‘bhru’, and the upper portion of the forehead. When Yoga is practised with pure heart and soul, the upkeep of the Body is automatically ensured and long standing disorders are rectified and health is completely toned up, for Physical fitness is the gateway to the accomplishment of the Four ‘Purusharthas’ of Dharma, Kama, Artha and Moksha.
Once ‘Atma Darshan’ ( Vision of the Soul) is possible, the Yogi is able to fulfill all kinds of unfulfilled wishes that might have been missed in his erstwhile life, say, Stree, Daan, Vidya, Maya, Dhana, Swarga, Amaratva, Devendrathva, Yagna phal, Agnipravesh, Upavas phal, Shraddha phal etc. However, there could be ‘Vighnas’ (obstacles) to the Yogis in bestowing full advantage of the fruits of Yoga,  but, there are five means of  Upa Sarga Yogas  Viz. Pratibha, Shravan, Daiva, Bhrama and Avartha which would be able to overcome the impediments. The Yogi’s ‘Pratibha’ (Radiance) like that of a ‘Daiva’ (Deity) made popular by ‘Shravan’ (hearing) in the eight directions but is misunderstood by ‘Bhrama’ (misinterpretation) and hence the Yogi should protect himself by shrouding a white blanket viz. ‘Guru Gyan’ and highlight Parabrahma’s singular thought; the Yogi ought to imagine the ‘Sukshma’  (the minutest) form of ‘Panchabhutas’ viz. Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky, assume (do ‘Dharana’ or hold) these forms one after another, experience their features, and discard the forms and features of the Five Elements gradually. This process of rejection of the end-products of the Five Elements and their the multiple shapes, features, Gunas and characteristics; in other words, the taste of the Earthly products of food, fruits, and drinks; coolness, crops and bathing comfort of Water; the very many possibilities of cooking food, performing Yagnas, illumination, and so on by Fire; and similarly of Air and Sky. The possibilites of Creation, family life, and endless such ramifications of comfort and relief are all a part of the the effects of ‘Panchabhutas’ and their alternate forms. Therefore, the Yogi needs to control Panchabhutas and the never-ending varieties of their offshoots; instead of being controlled by the desires and that is what the Vasitva Shakti all about.Yogis would then be able to assume various powers like Anima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Ishitva, Vasithva etc. But, true Yogis never satisfy themselves with the powers of ‘Vasitva’ and terminate their endeavour to pursue the path of Realisation of Brahma, since they are aware that the ‘Visithva’ Power is only a tool but certainly not the end by itself. As such, they continue the ‘Yogacharya’ (practice of the ‘Yoga Marg’) in the normal course if life, by observing the regulations of Varnashrama ranging from the ‘Atithya’ (honouring the guests, Shraddha, Yagna, Tirtha Yatra, charities, ‘Asteya’ (non-stealing), ‘Brahmacharya’ (celibacy),‘Tyaga’ ( Sacrifice), ‘Alobha’(liberal attitude) and ‘Ahimsa’; also ‘Akrodha’ (calmness and composure), ‘Guru susrusha’( devotion and service to Guru), ‘Shoucha’
(Cleanliness), ‘Ahara laghuta’ (minimal food) and ‘Nithya Vedadhyan’ (constant Study of Vedas);’Jnaanaajnaana vichakshana’ (capacity to distinguish knowledge and ignorance), loneliness/ aloofness;‘jitendriyata’ (self-control) and ‘Nitya Dhyana’ (Constant Meditation) of ‘Omkara’ which comprises of the Three Words viz. ‘A’ kara representing Brahma of Satvika Guna; ‘U’ representing Rajo Guna of Vishnu; and ‘Makara of Tajo Guna representing Siva.While thus engaged in the recitation of Pranava Mantra and its ‘Mananam’ (Understanding of its far reaching implications), the Yogi finally breaks away from the shackles of ‘Samsara’ yet retaining the ‘Jyatismrututa phala’ or the awareness of previous births as a follow up by Siddhis and Yogitva.
[Yoga Siddhis The Nine Principal Yoga Siddhis are: ‘Parakaya Pravesha’ (One’s Soul entering into the body of another being and reviving even a dead body); ‘Haadi Vidya’ (The Knowledge of overcoming hunger and thirst);’Kaadi Vidya’ (The knowledge of enduring all Seasons like Summer, Winter and Rain and the Power of immunity from the severities of heat, cold and rain); ‘Vayu Gamana Siddhi ‘(The capacity to fly fast and far); ‘Madalasa Vidya’ (The art of increasing or decreasing one’s physical size as per one’s wish); ‘Kanakadhara Siddhi’ (Knowledge of acquiring unlimited wealth); ‘Prakya Sadhana’ (The ability to direct a disciple to give birth to a child); and ‘Surya Vigyan’ (the potential of converting any substance to any other substance by applying Sun Rays). There is another version of ‘Ashta Siddhis’ as per the Purana of Maha Bhagavata, viz. ‘Anima’ (Conversion to an infinitesimal size); ‘Mahima’ (Expanding to an infinitely large size); ‘Garima’ (Turn any substance as an infinitely heavy object);’Laghima’ (Convert a substance as almost weightless); ‘Prapti’ (secure unrestricted access to any Place); ‘Prakamya’ (Accomplish whatever is desired); Isitva (Attainment of absolute Sovereignty) and ‘Vasitva’ (Capacity to vanquish any body or anything). Maha Bhagavata Purana also referred to Ten Subsidiary Siddhis viz. ‘Anurmimattvam’ (Not bothered by hunger, thirst etc.); ‘Doora Shravanam’(Hearing from far); Doora Darshanam (Ability to see from far); ‘Mano Java’ (moving one’s body where thought goes or teleportation); ‘Kaamarupam’ ( Assuming any type of body including animals, birds, flies etc.); ‘Parakaaya pravesham’ (entering other’s  body); Swacchanda Maranam (voluntary death (Voluntary death ); ‘Devanaam saha krida anudarshanam’ (Co-Play and Vision with Devas); ‘Yatha Samkalpa Samsiddhi’ (Achievement of one’s own desires as per thoughts) and ‘Aagnaa apratihathi gati’ (Commands being obeyed). The Epic of Maha Bhagavata further gave Five more Siddhis viz. ‘Trikaala Jnaanatvam’ (The Knowledge of the Past, Present and the Future); ‘Advandam’ (Forbearance of heat, cold and rain);‘Parachittadi abhijnaata’ (Knowing other’s mind); ‘Agni arka ambu visha adinaam pratisthubhah ‘(Countering the power of Fire, Sun, Poison etc.); and ‘Aparaajaya’ (Invincible).]

‘Airshtas’ (premonitions) of death
Those persons who cannot identify Stars on the Sky of Dhruva, Shukra, Soma and Arundhati may face death within a year; who find Sun dim within eleven months; who find in their dreams the images of body rejects mixed with gold/silver would die within ten months; who witness Piscachas, Pretas, and Golden Trees would die within nine months; persons who are fat but become thin, and again fat, would die within eight months; those who witness a scene of getting their feet stuck in mud and after coming out of the slush with impressions of not being able to notice the above portion of the feet  would die within seven months;
a dream showing a picture of a Kite, dove, owl or a crow- all with blue colour- sitting on one’s head would die within six months; those who see a row of crows and witness one’s own body full of dirt due to the flight of the crows would die within four months; if a person witnesses a rainbow and lightning on  the southern Sky in a cloudless night would die within a couple of months; a person whose body experiences the bad odours of a dead body or who cannot see his own reflection in ghee, oil, mirror and water would be dead within a month; if a person dreams that he has no head would die within a fortnight;those whose body and heart dry up soon after taking bath or feel thirsty immediately after taking large quantity of water would not last for more than ten days; if a person’s breathing is uneven or he dreams that he is travelling in a boat full of monkeys and is singing or when a powerful monk is passing while laughing loud, then death is round the corner.  Dreams of hair, fire, ash, serpents or dried up river; crooked nose, long ears, weeping left eye, a metallic face, black tongue, riding camels and donkeys bound to Southern direction, blinded eyes and deaf ears, upward eyesight,etc. are portends of early death.

Om Tat Sat


(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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