Saturday, March 25, 2006

Story 31 - Story of King Puranjana – 3

After Chandavega attacked Puranjana, Kaalakanya (the daughter of time) also attacked Puranjana. At that time, Puranjana felt as if he is old and of no use to the world. He lost his vigour and the country was completely in havoc. The king Yavana was the person who attacked Puranjana with the help of Kaalakanya. The snake guarding the city of Puranjana was sure to fall off by the attack of Kaalakanya. When the snake was about to fall, Puranjana started to worry about the people, wealth, sons, grandsons and his wife. Thus he started thinking and brooding over what is going to happen to all his possessions. Possessed by this “I” and “Mine” and contemplating his mind on his wife, Puranjana gave up his body. Thus he was born as a woman in the house of King Vidarbha.


This part of the story brings out the concept of time as well as rebirth. The concept of rebirth is based on the law of action or karma which has it that any action has a fruit equivalent to the action. This law is very similar to Newton’s third law stating that any action has an equal and equivalent reaction. So long as a person does action, he enjoys the fruit of the action. It can never happen that after doing an action, a person is not going to reap the fruit of the action. This is as if telling that “I will eat food but my hunger will not be satisfied” or that “I will walk from office to home but will not move an inch”. Thus any action whether it is physical or mental will have an equivalent fruit to it. As Vidyaranya beautifully puts it in Panchadashi, “a person does action for enjoying & he enjoys so as do more action”. Thus this cycle of action-enjoying continues. This cycle is never-ending & can be ended only when all actions are killed. Actions can be killed only when the ACTOR or DOER is killed. This happens only when the seeker realizes that “I” am the witness of the action, unaffected by the action and distinct from the DOER of EGO (which identifies itself with the body and mind thus causing the DOER-ship). Splitting of the Ego or the apparent “I” from the real “I” of Self is realization as per Vedanta. The moment a person realizes his very nature of Self or Consciousness, the witness of all activities, that very moment the seeker gets liberated from the bondage of action-enjoyment because the seeker ceases to be the EGO at that time. It is the wrong identification of EGO with the Self which causes a person to think that he is the DOER. This is what Vedanta calls “superimposition” even as the illusory snake is superimposed on the rope during night. The Ego is always changing as actions are changing each and every moment. Also the Ego is limited whereas “I” am unlimited. The Ego is often happy as well as sad but “I” experience this happiness and sorrow – thus “I” am the Self which is distinct and different from the Ego. It is also experienced that during deep sleep there is no Ego but still “I” remain. This clearly shows that “I” am not the Ego but the Self which is the witness of the Ego and its activities.

When the seeker realizes this reality, then he ceases to be the Ego and also experiences that the Ego is nothing but an illusion in the ultimate non-dual reality of Self or Consciousness or Lord. Thus when there is no doer, there are no actions. When there are no actions, there is no enjoyment too. The actions that seem to be happening in the world for realized saints like Sankara, Madhva etc. are nothing but very similar to dream happenings. In dream, we do actions & at times we enjoy, at times we don’t enjoy. But once the dream ends, everything ends. Similarly when the seeker wakes up from the long dream of waking world, actions cease to exist.

This is what Lord Krishna says in Gita that “knowledge burns all actions into ashes”. The knowledge here meant is the knowledge about one’s own very nature of Lord or Self distinct from the illusory Ego.

But until the seeker realizes this reality, there will seem to be actions and enjoyments even as the dreamer will experience actions until he wakes up. Thus if a seeker does some actions & doesn’t reap the fruit in this birth, he will take another birth suitable to enjoy the fruits. The body is just a medium for enjoying the fruits. The body is just like a shirt which the Self identifying itself with the Ego takes and exchanges once it wears off. This concept of rebirth is logical enough because even at the time of death, there are so many mental desires in the mind. These desires can be enjoyed or fulfilled only when they are converted to actions. Thus it is but natural that a person who has desires will have to take birth again to fulfill those desires. If it is asked that what will happen to a person who has no desires, such a person is a realized saint who never has any body or birth so as to be reborn or have rebirth. IT is but very rare that a person who has desires while in the world will have no desire at the time of birth. This is almost impossible – the only possibility is that a person who has no desires while in the world alone will have no desire at the time of birth. Lord says in Gita that whatever we think at the time of death, that we will become in the next birth. This is very clear when compared with dream state. It has been proved and can be experienced that what we think at the time of just sleeping, that we will be dreaming. If we have to think anything at the time of death, we have to think about that thing the whole thing or majority of time at least. Let’s say a person is said to think something at the end of day which he did or was thinking in the particular day – he will be thinking about that thing which he thought maximum that day. Thus Lord says in Gita that a person should always be thinking about the Lord so that by the end of this birth, he will think about the ultimate reality of Lord thereby getting liberated from the bondage of birth and death. The liberation after death is not a permanent one but this is meant for those who are unable to contemplate and realize here and now itself that “I am not the body but the Self or Lord who is ever free & the only really existing entity”.

Since Puranjana was thinking about his wife the whole birth, he died thinking about his wife. Thus he became a woman in his next birth. The only way to get rid of this birth-death cycle is to contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord as one’s own nature & contemplating that “I am not the body or mind or Ego but witness of all illusory things/activities in the world”.

Let us next analyze another important thing which this story tells – TIME.

We analyzed the concept of rebirth as being valid until there is ignorance of one’s own very nature of birth-less, deathless eternal being of Lord or Self. When the ignorance of one’s own very nature of Self is removed, then the seeker realizes that he was never ever born to die – thus there is neither birth nor death but only the non-dual ultimate reality of Lord or Self exists, one without a second.

Now we will try to analyze the concept of time. As we all are aware, everything in the world is based on the two important concepts of time and space. Time is termed in many scriptures as a cycle or chakra or wheel and that which never stops & that which causes other beings in the world to either progress or deteriorate. This is why we have heard the saying that “time lost will never be got back again”. This concept is taken to heights when people equate each moment or second with money considering time to be very precious and earning lot of money. Time is divided into three as past, present and future. Time if we really analyze is just a concept of the mind. This is the reason why we have a different time while awake and different time when we dream. Moreover there is no time when we are in the deep sleep state. There is no mind in the deep sleep as the Self alone exists veiled by a veil of ignorance in the form of “I didn’t know anything”. Thus it is clear that if there is no mind, there is no time. This is what great philosophical thinkers called SEERS have found out about the riddle of time. Modern day science is trying to view and control time when they themselves are controlled by time. Time can be controlled only when we control the mind – this is why Time Management requires lot of mental preparation and mental control.

The moment a person controls his mind, time is automatically controlled. Thus we find that a person who has his mind well controlled, stabilized and peaceful will have good time management. But Vedanta instead of stopping at this point goes still further by trying to go beyond the mind. When a person goes beyond the mind, time ends there. Where there is no time, there is only stillness which gives eternal bliss or peace to the seeker. The state where there is no time will be devoid of most of the problems caused by time. For eg:- time causes a person to become old and feel weaker. But the moment time-less state is achieved, then there is no limitedness caused by time. The illusion of time vanishes when a person achieves the time-less state. At that state, there is no sorrow and suffering which is caused due to bodily or mental problem arising out of limitedness caused by time and space. Overcoming time might seem to something which is kind of stupid or impossible thing but this is very much possible. We all experience a state daily wherein there is no time at all - the state of deep sleep where there is no dream nor the waking objects. This state is where a person overcomes time temporarily. Time merges into the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord or Self at that point of time. Thus it is very clear that time can be overcome. Also time is something changing (present, future and past). Thus the changing time requires a changeless substratum of WITNESS or SUBJECT which is the Self or Lord of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute.

Time management becomes perfect when a person overcomes time by realizing the underlying substratum of time - the Self, that on which time depends for its existence. When a person thus realizes the Self as distinct from and witness of the changing time, he basically becomes inevitable and beyond time. Such a person is able to change time and suit time for the welfare of the world. This can very well be seen in the life of great saints like Yukteshwar Giri, Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi etc. who show through their life and activities that time is nothing but a mere instrument in their hand. Time thus when overcome becomes a mere illusion like water seen in desert. As the water seen in desert doesn't affect a person who knows the reality, similarly a person who has overcome time is not affected by time and the sorrows-sufferings arising out of time. Such a person is what Vedanta calls as a realized saint who has achieved what needs to be achieved - he who is rejoicing in the eternal bliss which is the goal of each and every person in the world. Bliss can be rejoiced only when a person realizes his own very nature of infinite, unlimited Lord beyond the illusory time and space - the cause of all sorrows and sufferings in the illusory world.

Time management is thus not managing time properly by scheduling etc. but it is by realizing that ultimate reality of Lord who is beyond time as the substratum of illusory time & the mere witness to the illusion of time & its creation of the world etc. This is achieved by completely surrendering unto the Lord and thereby realizing one's own very nature of Lord.

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