Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Story 53 – Story of Krishna Dinacharya varnana (elaboration of Krishna’s daily routine) - 04

In order to witness the Divine Maya Vilaasam (play of Maya) of the Lord, Narada went into another wife’s house. There he saw Krishna playing chathuranga (sort of chess-like game) with his wife and Uddhava.


Here we find Krishna being in two places. We find in many places in Bhagavatham the portrayal of Lord as present in multiple places. The story of destruction of Brahma’s ego wherein the Lord himself becomes the various gopaalas can be remembered here.

Is it possible for one person to be in many places at the same time?
JIn fact the entire world is one person alone – the ultimate reality of Lord. The Lord portrays different characters in this long play – this is also seen in our dream state where there is only the dreamer present but the dreamer becomes the entire world filled with many living and non-living characters. In a similar way this waking world is a long dream world in which everything is the Lord alone.

There are two perspectives possible with respect to the world. One is vision of the world as the world and second is vision of world as the Lord (real vision). The former is called loka dristhi (vision of the world) – this is a false vision wherein a person sees the world as dual with differences present everywhere and in everything. Such a person is an ignorant person – this ignorance of dual vision leads the person to believe that the duality is there thereby getting into likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes in turn leads to attachment and aversion which in turn lead to happiness and sorrow. Dual vision also causes desires – all desires based on the desire of eternal bliss. Since this vision is out of ignorance, eternal bliss is impossible with this vision. This vision can only lead a person to more and more sorrows in life.

The latter vision is jnaana dristhi (vision of knowledge). In this the world is seen as its essence of Lord – this is vision of reality. Even as the false vision of seeing water in desert (and considering water as real) leads to sorrow, similarly the vision of ignorance leads to sorrow. Whereas the vision of water in desert as desert (though externally a person might see water but knows internally beyond doubt that there is no water at all and there is only desert) is true vision and thereby will lead to eternal bliss. A jnaani has this vision of world as the Lord.

Bhagavatham here hints at this vision through Narada seeing the Lord in all the houses – wherever a jnaani sees, whatever a jnaani sees – he sees only the Lord. Though he might see differences externally like an ajnaani, internally he sees all those differences are mere illusions in the Lord thereby seeing only the Lord internally. Such a jnaani who sees oneness everywhere will never enter into likes and dislikes thereby negating attachments and aversions thus not getting pulled into happiness and sorrow. There is no desire for such a jnaani as his mind is ever abiding in blissful Ishwara.

Spiritual goal is wherein an ajnaani transitions to a jnaani thereby seeing everything as filled with Ishwara and as Ishwara – thus ever rejoicing in bliss.

Let us try to have vision of knowledge thereby seeing Ishwara everywhere so that we will ever rejoice in bliss and never enter into sorrows and sufferings.

In the second wife’s house as well Narada was welcomed and worshipped, the same way as in the first house. Surprised Narada then went into another house and there he found the Lord bathing his children. In another house Narada saw the Lord getting ready to take bath. In yet another house he saw the Lord doing yajnaadi karmas (ritualistic actions). He saw the Lord giving daanas (offerings) to brahmanas in another house. In another house the Lord was doing Sandhya vandhanam along with vedic chants. In yet another house the Lord was making the horses and chariots ready. In yet another house the Lord was relaxing in his bed while being praised by various sthuthis (praises). In another house, the Lord was discussing kingly duties along with his various ministers including Uddhava. In another house the Lord was doing jala kreeda (playing in water). In another house the Lord was offering cows to people. The Lord was seen as listening to ithihaasa and puranas (history and stories) in another house. In another house the Lord was laughing along with his wife at the comic stories illustrated by himself. In another place the Lord was striving for dharma-artha-kaama. In another place the Lord was in deep meditation on the ultimate truth (beyond Prakrithi or Maya).

Thus whatever activities are there in the world, Narada saw the Lord performing those in many places.


Though it is enough to say that the entire world is Ishwara alone – without the essence of Ishwara, nothing has any existence at all, still many people will raise doubts regarding the same. It is but the compassionate spiritual masters who listen calmly to these doubts (though there is no scope for doubt) and answer them in the best possible way. Here Bhagavatham anticipates doubts if it is just mentioned that “everything is the Lord alone” and hence doesn’t give any scope for doubts by clearly mentioning that everything is the Lord alone.

This same approach of clarifying things in the best possible way is followed by the Lord in many places of Gita. The Upanishads also follow the same pattern. The Mundaka Upanishad in the very beginning says that the entire world has come from Ishwara – the world which has come from Ishwara, resides in Ishwara and merges unto Ishwara cannot be different from Ishwara. The differences are just names and forms. Even as a gold ornament comes from gold, resides in gold and merges unto gold is not different from gold but is just a name and form in gold, similarly the entire world is just names and forms in Ishwara who alone exists. But as we discussed earlier, it isn’t easy to apprehend or accept this hence Mundaka Upanishad goes to extents to explain the creation process by saying this comes from Ishwara, that comes from Ishwara etc. At the end, anticipating that there might still be doubts as to whether everything is really Ishwara the Upanishad makes the below statement:

Brahmaivedam amritham purasthaath brahma paschaat
Brahma dakshinatascha uttarena adhascha urdhvam cha prasritham
Brahmaivedam vishwam idam varistam

Brahman alone is immortal and present here in front, in back, above, below, right, left – this world is Brahman alone which is to be sought out (as that alone can give eternal bliss).

If even after the scriptures explain to such detail that everything is Ishwara alone, still a seeker is unable to understand that everything is Ishwara such a seeker will never be able to realize.

There is another concept as well explained through this part of Bhagavatham wherein the Lord is shown as doing all activities in the world. In essence it is the Lord’s presence that makes activities a success. In fact all activities happen because of the presence of the saakshi Ishwara (called adhistaanam or substratum). If the Lord is remembered in actions, then actions whether they give good or bad fruit will always be successful – success of an action is not about getting good result but about the action leading to peaceful and blissful state of the mind. Peace and bliss are possible only when a seeker remembers the non-dual reality of Lord while doing activities. This is being symbolically explained in this part where the Lord is seen as doing all actions possible – all those actions give immense bliss to the Lord. Even when the action of being a dootha to kauravas didn’t work out, the Lord was still blissful. This approach to actions has been summarized by Ramana Maharshi in this short sloka very beautifully:

Ishwara arpitham na icchaya kritham
Chittha shodakam mukthi saadhakam

Actions done as an offering to Ishwara and without craving for its fruits will purify the mind and thereby lead to realization.

It is not the action that really matters but the attitude of remembering Iswhara, doing the action as an offering to Ishwara and without craving for any fruit at all that really matters – such an action is often termed nishkaama karma (action without desires) but the presence of Ishwara makes the action a jnaana sadhana and gives instant liberation in form of eternal bliss irrespective of the outcome of the action at the empirical (worldly) level.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

Let us all try to do actions as an offering to Ishwara while remembering that the entire world is only an illusion of names and forms in Ishwara so that whether the result of the action is good or bad, we are ever unaffected and thereby will rejoice in bliss.

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