Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Story 32 - Story of King Bharatha - 3

Bharatha thus became a youth and since he was used to eating whatever others would give, he became very fat and a fit person. Thus one day when he was sitting on the road side, King Rahugana who was the ruler of Sindhu and Sauveera was going through the same way to meet a saint. Rahugana had no real peace of mind and hence was meeting various saints for peace of mind. Rahugana’s palanquin required one more person to carry it. Thus he sent his soldiers to find out a person to carry the palanquin. The soldiers then came across Bharatha, who was very fit, and decided to call him for the same. They called out to him & without uttering a single word he went with them. He was asked to carry the palanquin with the other soldiers – he did as told without any reaction.


This part of the story will seem to have no real import but it has an important point which is to be understood and implemented in life by each one of us. Rahugana was seeking peace in the external world. We all are doing the same only. Life has only one ultimate goal whether it is for a king or a beggar. The ultimate aim of life is HAPPINESS which is ever lasting. We can say that we have different goals in life but all those goals can be traced back to ETERNAL BLISS. This is the goal of human life. This ultimate goal was put forth by the Vedic rishis or seers. They then sought out the goal and ultimately found it. Thus we have in Vedanta, the source of ultimate bliss and the way to attain it.

Vedanta splits the entire spectra of experience into two – the Subject who experiences the world and the Objects of experience. The Subject is of the nature of Consciousness because devoid of Consciousness, there is no existence at all. This Consciousness when it is devoid of any linking or attachment with the body or objects in the world is the source of eternal bliss. This bliss we all experience during the state of deep sleep where there is no dream as well as no external object that we currently perceive. Thus it is clear that when the objects are merged into the Subject and they just vanish, there is eternal bliss. Thus if a person wants eternal bliss, he has to seek the Subject of Consciousness devoid of any mingling with the body or the mind or the objects of the world. The more and more a person seeks peace or happiness in the external world, the more and more he suffers. This is because the objects of the world are temporary - we see a thing today and tomorrow it vanishes. Thus if a person gets attached to a woman, today he will be happy because the woman exists. But tomorrow the woman will surely vanish and when that happens, the person becomes sad. Thus all the objects in the world are a source of sorrow only in the long run. Thus a wise person who wants eternal bliss will seek out happiness in the Subject who is called as Self or Lord or Brahman. This Subject is not the body nor the mind but it is the Consciousness or "I" devoid of any attachment to the temporary and illusory body and mind.

Unless a person seeks the Consciousness, he will suffer again and again – as suffering is the very nature of external sensual objects. In this story of Bharatha, we find Rahugana seeking bliss in external sources. Rahugana goes to meet various saints hearing to their discourses and thinking that he will get eternal bliss from them. We have to remember that eternal bliss cannot be bought at any cost – it can never be given or gifted by any person whether it is a Mahatma, avaataar or even Lord himself. The Lord can only show us the path to eternal bliss – any of the realized saints cannot gift us bliss. If we need eternal bliss, we have stop seeking it in the external world – instead we have to seek it in the Subject of Lord residing in the heart of all beings as Consciousness.

Yoga Vasistha beautifully explains the search of human beings for bliss through a story. An old woman was once searching something under the shade of lamp on the road. She was searching and searching. At that time, a passer by asked her what she was searching for. The old woman explained that she was searching for her needle. The passer by asked her where did she lose it. She replied that she lost it in her house but since there is no light there, she was searching under the shade of the lamp!!!

This is how our searches are going. We search for eternal bliss in temporary objects of the world. The more and more we continue the search, the more and more we will suffer. This is why we find people doing Sandhya Vandanam while failing to understand the import of Gayatri mantra as pointing out to the effulgent Sun of Lord shining in the heart of all beings – such people after doing Sandhya Vandanam for years suffer like anything at the end of their life. How do they suffer? They suffer because at the end of their life, they will be unable to do Sandhya and thus they become sad. They then blame the eternally present Lord saying "O Lord! I did Sandhya daily and you are cursing me like this!!!". Isn’t this the height of foolishness? We do Sandhya, bhajans, rituals, pooja etc. just to make our mind concentrated on the reality of Lord. The more we do such things, it is to bring us focussed to the Subject of Lord. Thus the very aim of such external saadhanaas is to lead the seeker from the external world to the inner Atman or Self or Lord. If such sadhanas don’t lead us to the inner Self, then it is of no use & it is almost the same as doing other worldly activities.

Thus we have to constantly remember that there is no happiness in the external world but happiness is in the subject of Consciousness who is the Lord.
It may then be doubted that "what is the use of going to various avataars like Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sai Baba etc". The answer is pretty obvious - these saints help us by leading our mind to the inner Self or Atman. The more time we spend with them, the more we find our mind concentrated and focussed on the Lord. When the mind focusses on the Lord, it becomes calm. When the mind becomes calm, it merges into the ultimate reality of Lord or Self. It is during that time that we experience the bliss of the Self. This merging and destruction of the mind is what is the aim of life through external sadhanas. The very aim of going to saints is to always be focussed on the Lord - even when we are not amidst the saints. If we forget the reality that no external object can give us eternal bliss, we are surely going to suffer more and more. Nobody, not even the Lord can save us from suffering in such a case. This is the reason why Lord Krishna says in Gita that the Self helps the Self itself (a seeker has to be help himself - "a person can take a horse to the pond but cannot make it drink water).

Thus Bhagavatham at this particular point in the story tells us that always remember that the goal of external sadhanas is to get focus or concentration on the ultimate reality of Self or Consciousness. Unless this goal is achieved, there is no particular use of the sadhanas. It is not that a person shouldn’t do external sadhanas but just that while doing external sadhanas, the seeker should always remember the ultimate reality of Lord behind all such sadhanas and the goal of all such sadhanas.

We will see next another important import of this particular story and then enter into the discussion between Bharatha and Rahugana.

When Bharatha and others were carrying the palanquin, Bharatha was walking a bit slow so as not to step on the ants which were going in front. Thus Rahugana asked his soldiers as to the reason why the palanquin is not even. The soldiers replied telling that it was due to the fourth person whom they had got to carry the palanquin. Rahugana became angry about the same and started speaking to Bharatha mockingly thus "O friend! You seem to be very tired and it seems that your co-carriers are not of any help in carrying the palanquin".
Bharatha was unmoved by the comments as he was fully immersed in the ultimate reality of Lord and being devoid of "I" and "Mine". Seeing this that Bharatha was unmoved, Rahugana got even more angry.
Rahugana thus angrily said to Bharatha "O fool! what nonsense is this! You, living corpse, ignore me overriding my reproach! Are you out of your mind? Like Yamaraja with common folk, I will teach you a lesson so that you will know where you should stand out here".


This part of the story explains the problem and obstacle of anger. As AMMA says anger is a knife with both ends sharp. The person who is holding it also will get hurt and the person towards whom it is directed also will get hurt. The person who is getting angry is also falling down from his natural state of calmness as well as he is affecting the mental of the other person also (towards whom he is getting angry). The other person doesn’t get affected only if he is a realized saint like Bharatha. Here we find the characteristics of a realized saint being clearly defined. He is not at all affected by things in the world but always wants does good for the world. Thus Bharatha was walking and making sure that he doesn’t walk on the ants – a realized saint will always seek the welfare of the people and trying to do good for the world. Ramana Maharshi used to say that the very presence of the realized saint is good for the society and the world.
It may be objected here that there is no world at all for the realized saint and how come it will be good for the world?? But this question itself is out of ignorance only. The question implies that the questioner is ignorant as so long as there are doubts, there will be questions and objections. The realized saint might or might not see the world. His state is inexplicable – it an only be experienced by oneself. Until a person experiences the state, he cannot know how that particular state is.

Thus we find here that Bharatha wanted the welfare of the world but at the same time he was unaffected by anything in the world - ever immersed in the ultimate reality of Lord. Bharatha was asked to carry the palanquin and he did it without any sign of expression either anxiety or aversion. When Rahugana mocked at Bharatha, Bharatha was unmoved. This is the state of a realized saint. Even though he might be seen as acting and doing actions in the world but still he will not be affected by the activities in the world as he will always be immersed in the ultimate reality of non-dual Brahman. He sees only the Lord everywhere. This is what Sankara summarizes in Siva Maanasa puja as "Yad yad karma karomi tad tad akhilam sambho tava aaraadhanam" - whatever activities I am doing are all offerings to you O Siva!.

Even when Rahugana mocked and got angry with Bharatha, Bharatha was unmoved because he knew clearly that there is nothing here but Brahman alone. Whatever really exists is Brahman alone – Rahugana is Brahman, I am Brahman and anger is also Brahman only – thus Bharatha was established completely in the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. A person whose mind is ever fixed in the ultimate reality of Lord and never internally deviates from the reality is called a realized saint or jeevan muta. His mind is calm and like an ocean without waves (as Chinmayananda beautifully puts it).

On the other hand Rahugana was a seeker who didn’t really know where is the ultimate reality of Lord. Even though he was seeking the Lord but didn’t know the reality that Lord is present everywhere and as everything. A person (a seeker) who is trying to see the Lord everywhere will not get angry as there is nothing other Lord to get angry with. But normal seekers are always unaware of the reality that everything is the Lord alone - thus they seek the Lord in temporary things in the world. Therefore they are prone to anger due to "I" and "Mine" which is called as Ego or ahamkaara. Thus Rahugana got angry as the palanquin was not moving in good pace. He could have very well ignored it or asked politely to Bharatha as to why he was moving slow. Instead he started mocking at Bharatha. He thought himself very great and hence when Bharatha didn’t react at all, he got angry. This is the state of normal people in the world – when they feel that people are not listening or heeding to them, they get angry. While getting angry, they themselves are getting affected by getting away from the calm state of the mind which is required and essentially for realization of the ultimate reality of Lord. And also they are affecting the mind of the other person also. As AMMA says, when a person gets sad, that particular wave comes to the person getting angry and this poses as an obstacle to spiritual progress. It cannot be argued that everything is an illusion because in such a case, anger itself wouldn’t have occurred. Thus the seeker will get affected by the waves of the other person. Thus he himself is affecting himself by getting away from the calm state of the mid – and also causing more obstacles by affecting the mind of the other person. Thus we have to make sure at all times that we don’t get angry. Anger is one of the most affecting obstacle for a seeker. A seeker should always remember that everything is the Lord alone. Thus he will never be affected by anger. Even if he is about to get angry, the normal tendency of remembering and repeating that everything is the Lord will come to his mind & thus he will not get angry.
Each one of us should thus remember not to get angry at any time by always thinking that everything is Brahman alone. AMMA’s one of the sanyaasin disciple once told an experience of her devotee about getting angry. The devotee used to get angry always. So the swamiji gave the devotee a photo of AMMA and told her that everytime you get angry, remember this photo and get angry on this photo. Initially the devotee used to forget about the photo but eventually started remembering the photo whenever she used to get angry. She couldn’t thus get angry because she couldn’t get angry with AMMA as AMMA was the Lord as well as her mother. Thus she overcame anger.

There are different ways thus to overcome anger but all these are based on the final truth that everything is the Lord alone. When a seeker has this thought in mind, he will never get angry and even if he gets angry externally he will be as calm as an ocean without waves internally. He will be getting angry externally only for the welfare of others or to protect himself from dangerous people in the world.

We will start with the discussion and reply of Bharatha to Rahugana’s statement that he will take care of Bharatha like Yama takes care of people and that Bharatha was a corpse only next.

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