Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Story 30 - Song sung by Lord Siva -1

Srimad Bhagavatham - A Spiritual Insight - Story 30 - Song sung by Lord Siva -1

Son of Prithu was called Vijitaashva and he gave his younger brothers different directions of the world to look after. In one of his wife, Shikandini, he begot three good sons. From another of his wife, Nabhasvati, he had a son named Havirdhaana. Havirdhaana had a wife named Havirdhaani who gave birth to six sons of which Barhishat was the eldest one. This Barhishat was expert in the practice of Yoga. With this practice of continually pleasing the gods of sacrifice, he spread all over the world, kept the Kusha grass (of the ceremonial sitting places) facing the east. Hence he was called Praachina Barhi or Praachina Barhishat (Praachina means east or praachya direction). Praachina Barhishat had ten children who were called Prachetaas or Praachinaas. Ordered by their father to beget children, they wanted to perform austerity – hence they escaped from home. On the path to do austerity, they met Lord Siva who very much pleased with their great command of meditation, mantra practice and worship, spoke to them about the ultimate reality of Narayana or Brahman.

Now Vidura asked Maitreya to explain as to what Lord Siva explained to Prachetaas.


Here we find as to how Lord Siva starts explaining about the reality to Praachina Barhis or Prachetaas (Barhi is singular whereas Barhis is plural). Prithu and his generations all were devoted to the ultimate reality of Lord – hence they were all guided by the Lord & had prosperity always. As Upanishads clearly mention that the family of a person who is either a devotee or a jnaani of the Lord is saved by the Lord. Now only his generation but 7 generations are saved by the Lord. Mundaka Upanishad goes forward and says that in the kula of a person who has realized the ultimate reality of Lord, there will be no person who doesn’t know the Lord. This goes on to show how important realization is for a seeker. What we normally have in mind while pursuing the spiritual path is as to what will happen to the family? What will happen to my family members, the younger generations etc.? We are in fact here forgetting the promise of the Lord that he will take care of his devotee. The devotee is completely devoted to the Lord and for such a real devotee, the Lord looks after the needs of the devotee – thus we need not explicitly mention that such a devotee will realize the Lord. Our family and all generations are saved only if we are devoted to the Lord and realize the reality of Lord. If we don’t do that, not only that we will be lead to sorrow but our generations also will be lead to sorrow alone.

As per Hindu tradition, the elder generations who have passed from this world are also still waiting for their chance to come back to human form. It is only in human birth that a seeker is able to realize his own very nature of Lord. No other birth, even gods, are eligible for realization. Thus unless we realize the reality of Lord, our elder generations also will not have any gathi and they will be wandering here and there until some good actions leads them back to the Bhoo loka giving them an opportunity to realize the Lord.

Thus if we really are bothered about the welfare of our family or kula, we should realize the ultimate reality of Lord – which alone can lead our kula to realization or liberation from the bondages of birth and death.

We normally think that our duty is to protect our family – but if we really want to protect and save our family, the duty is to realize the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus the prime duty of any seeker is realization of the ultimate reality of Lord – there is no other duty than this. This is the reason why in scriptures, it is mentioned that the sole duty of human life is realization of one’s own very nature of Lord or Brahman or Self.

IF a person is realized, his entire generations will be benefited by it – this is being shown in the family of Prithu who had realized the ultimate reality of Lord. We have to remember that it need not be that every person in the family realizes the Lord but each person has a choice as to whether to realize or not. This means that the final choice is on the individual alone. But this chance of knowing the Lord is rare indeed and few people get the environment and surroundings for the same. We are all blessed indeed to have got together to discuss about the Lord – this is very rare indeed and tough to get in the current scenario where India is trying to westernize itself forgetting the rich culture which is present in India itself (also forgetting that many foreigners come to India seeking bliss & they get bliss whereas Indians never get bliss in western countries or elsewhere). Thus we have to consider ourselves blessed and shouldn’t waste the opportunity to realize the ultimate reality of Lord. We have got the human life, the surroundings to hear and discuss about the Lord – hence we should utilize this to maximum by trying to realize the ultimate reality of Lord this very birth itself. It might take some time to get constant contemplation on the Lord thereby realizing the Lord, but we should always strive for it – it is practice which makes things happen. If we really put practice and effort into it, we will be able to constantly remember the ultimate reality of Lord.

The children of Praachina Barhi wanted to realize and therefore they started putting effort towards realization. When the seeker puts effort, the Lord himself helps out the seeker. This is what happened here also – the Lord himself appeared in the form of Lord Siva to impart knowledge to them. Thus if there is sincere desire for realization, the seeker will find a Guru approaching him. It might happen that sometimes the seeker has to search for the Guru but when the right time comes (when desire is strongly there for the Guru), the Lord himself will send the Guru towards the disciple. This is what really happens for a real disciple.

Siva started explaining to Prachina Barhis thus:

He who seeks the ultimate reality of Lord is indeed dear to me. A person who is fixed unto his duty in the world attains Brahma Loka and thereby attains me never to return again after pralaya. And hence you are all dear indeed to me as well as to the ultimate reality of Lord or Brahman. I will explain you to the mantras and glories of the Lord which is pure, transcendental and beneficial – which you should listen to and always pray (contemplate).


Lord Siva starts explanation about the ultimate reality of Brahman. We have to remember here that there is no difference at all between the various lords or gods in the world because all these gods are different manifestations of the ultimate reality of Brahman. What is real is the essence of these gods and that is Brahman or Lord alone who has no form by himself but is seen as having forms. If it is not remembered that the various gods are the one reality alone, we will be fighting amongst one another in the name of Siva and Vishnu. This fight amongst Siva and Vishnu has been continuing for years long and even now there are people who consider Siva as someone who is in bondage whereas Vishnu alone as the ultimate reality of Brahman. This is completely against scripture and logic too. As scriptures again and again stress that “seeing everything as ONE” is the path to realization, such differences is not real & such attitude has to be renounced.

We very well know that the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord cannot be limited to a form because any form is temporary and non-eternal. As the Lord cannot be non-eternal, Lord cannot be limited by any form. Thus the Lord is the formless substratum of all the beings in the world. The Lord is the reality behind the illusory and changing world. This Lord is what is seen through the forms of Siva and Vishnu. Vishnu means one who is all-pervasive. Siva is one who is auspicious and that which is auspicious is blissful, unlimited Brahman alone. Brahman is that which is auspicious and all-pervasive, therefore both Siva and Vishnu are Brahman only – not different from Brahman.

This is what the famous Katha Upanishad says

Manasaivedam aaptavyam neha nana asthi kinchana
Mrityoh sah mrityum gacchathi ya iha nana iva pashyathi.

The Lord is to be realized through a pure mind – there is no duality whatsoever here (there is the Lord alone, one without a second). He who sees duality as if existing goes from death to death.

DEATH to DEATH means that such a seeker will be taking birth, dying, again taking birth – bonded in the vicious circle of birth and death which gives sorrow only.

Since each person’s goal is happiness and that is achieved when the seeker contemplates on the Lord who is present everywhere and is the reality behind the illusory existence, we have to renounce and negate all dual perceptions/notions. Only that seeker who doesn’t perceive difference is liberated from the illusory bondages in the illusory world.

Lord Siva thus says here that a person should do his duty so as to realize the ultimate reality of Lord. What is the duty of a person in the world???? We have already discussed this many times but still repetition is required so as to strengthen the conviction and make a person constantly remember the reality. Duty of a seeker is realization of the ultimate reality of Lord alone. As we have discussed previously, a seeker will be able to give happiness to his family only if he has realized the reality of Lord. He who has happiness alone can give happiness. He who has the temporary happiness from illusory worldly objects can give temporary happiness only which will not last forever. Eternal bliss can be given by only those who have eternal bliss – he alone has bliss who has realized the reality of Lord of the nature of eternal bliss. Thus if it is said that it is MY duty to look after my family, the looking after of family can be done only when the Lord is known. Also, that person who doesn’t really know his own very nature of Lord cannot give happiness to others. This is as if a mad person (who has forgotten his identity) giving happiness to others -- J such happiness will only be sorrowfulJJJ. Also, the worldly objects are illusory like dream objects. Thus the family which we always cling to is also an illusion only. Today we see our parents, but tomorrow they vanish. This clearly shows that they are not real or eternal. The Lord alone is eternal in the illusory world. Thus it is our duty to seek the eternal rather than give importance to the illusory family. This doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t look after his family – but renounce and go to the forest. Vedanta never says a person to do so. It only says that give importance to realization of the Lord – and keeping in mind this thought, do things to the family and society. If this is done, then a person doesn’t get affected when family or society goes against the person or leads to sorrow because he knows that they are illusions and the Lord alone is real.

Thus the main duty of an individual is realization of his own very nature of Lord. This is what Lord Siva mentions and is going to explain in detail to the sons of Prachina Barhi. We will see as to what Lord Siva says next post.

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