Monday, July 31, 2006

Story 34 – Story of Vadha (killing) of Vritrasura – 6

Thus Vritra and India came face to face and started fighting. Indra cut one hand of Vritra & Vritra started fighting with the other hand. Vritra attacked Indra and the vajra fell off from Indra’s hands. Indra was not feeling like taking the vajra and killing Vritra.

Vritra said thus to Indra:
O Indra! There is no time to waste – take the vajra and kill me. Nobody wins or loses in war. Everything is under the control of the Lord alone. Therefore there is neither win nor loss, neither happiness nor sorrow – we have to see everything from this perspective and maintain an equanimity all the while we are performing actions.


The ultimate reality behind the temporary and changing world is Lord of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. The scriptures define the world and its objects as an illusion in the reality of Lord even as water is seen in desert and the dream world. Since the world and its objects are always changing, they cannot give eternal bliss to the seeker. Hence they are not to be sought out instead a seeker should seek the ultimate reality of Lord if he wants to have eternal bliss and complete cessation of sorrow.

Since the world is an illusion in the Lord, everything is under the control of the Lord even as the dream world is under the control of the dreamer alone. As the world is under the control of the Lord, there is nothing that a normal person can do about the worldly possessions. A seeker needs to realize this and understand that he needs to seek the reality of Lord – that by knowing which nothing remains to be known, that by attaining which nothing else remains to be attained. Thus Vritra says to Indra that victory-defeat, happiness-sorrow, cold-heat etc. all are dual perceptions as a result of the mind. We have to remember that everything is under the control of the Lord, the Lord who is our own very nature itself – knowing this we need to thus develop dispassion towards the worldly objects. The worldly objects are temporary and cannot give eternal bliss instead they are filled with sorrow alone. A person has to struggle a lot in getting the worldly objects (getting possession of the worldly objects). After possessing it, there is always the struggle to keep it in possession – moreover there are lot of problems arising out of thieves, jealous persons etc. for the worldly objects. Thereby the scriptures again and again proclaim that the sense objects of the world are filled with sorrow alone and wise people will never crave for it.

Dispassion is not mere detachment from sense objects but it is having an approach of detached attachment. There is attachment to worldly objects & hence nothing is renounced; but there is knowledge about the temporary and sorrowful nature of the objects therefore there is total detachment. Such a person thus will be able to renounce the world in one sec and the next sec will be able to gain possession of objects. This is what Vedanta calls as SAAKSHI BHAAVA or witness-hood.

We have to constantly develop the attitude of being mere witness to all activities even as Sun is a witness to all the activities on Earth. Even though a dog might bark at the sun, a murderer might murder another person, a Brahmin is offering salutations – still the Sun remains unperturbed. The Sun even though controlling the activities on Earth, still is unaffected by the activities. Similarly we have to become mere witness of all the activities that is happening around us. Only when we become a witness, we will be fully detached to the activities. When we are fully detached to activities, we are not affected by the activities – instead we will be able to fully contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord going beyond the body-mind-intellect complex.

Krishna explains this witness attitude of actions beautifully in many places of Gita

Brahmani aadhaaya karmaani sangam tyaktvaa dhananjayaa
Lipyathe na sa paapena padmapatramiva ambhasaaa

A person who offers all actions unto the reality of Lord and performing without any attachment, he is not afflicted by the fruits of the action (whether it be sins or sorrows or happiness and punya) even as the lotus leaf even though is in water is not wet by water.

Tyaktvaa karmaphalaasangam nityatripto niraasrayah
Karmani abhipravrittopi naiva kinchit karothi sah

One who has renounced all attachments to the action (doership, craving for fruits etc.) and is ever content & without getting attached to anything, even though he is always in the midst of actions still he never does any action.

How is it possible that Lord says that a person who does action still doesn’t do action???
Actions are dependent on the doer of Ego. When a person gets rid of the ego and remains as the Self by offering all actions unto the Lord and performing the actions without any craving for fruits, he is not the Ego but the Self. Though the Ego is still performing actions still he doesn’t do any action as the Self.

This is similar to the fact that in dream, a dreamer doesn’t do any action but still seems to be doing actions. Once the dreamer knows that he is not doing any action then he will find that there are actions going on but still he is not acting as he is the Self or Lord and not the doer of Ego. Since he is not the doer, therefore he is not at all affected by the activities – therefore ever remains blissful and content.

Indra having prostrated Vritra said thus:
“O Mahasiddha! You have attained that ultimate state attaining which there is nothing more to attain. There is neither birth nor death for you”.

After having said thus, Indra killed Vritra using the Vajraayudha and Vritra was ever established in the ultimate reality of Brahman.


We come to the end of this beautiful story of Vritrasura. As mentioned in the beginning, Vadha doesn’t mean physical killing – vadha denotes killing of the sins that are present in the human being. As Ramana Maharshi says, we all have to kill the Ego in order to become immortal. The greatest sin in life is considering oneself as limited and in bondage. The ultimate reality is that we all are unlimited and ever liberated. Forgetting our own very nature of Lord of the nature of eternal bliss is SIN. Considering this, we all are sinning each and every moment in our lives.

This SIN of Vedanta is quite different from the SIN of Catholic or Christianity in general. The main difference lies in the fact that the sin in Vedanta is considering oneself as a sinner whereas in Christianity sin is permanent and can be removed only by the grace of the Lord. Vedanta goes one step beyond and says that there is no sin in human being as he is none other than the ultimate reality of Lord. Sin is just a concept in the mind – sins occur when the individual forgets his nature of Lord and thereby gets deluded into the illusory objects of the world. When a person forgets his nature, he becomes extroverted and starts seeking bliss and complete cessation of sorrow. Cessation of sorrow is nothing but getting rid of all sins which mentally bind a person as to the thoughts that “I did this wrong, I cheated, I killed etc”. But once a person comes to his own very nature of Lord, there is no sin at all. He then realizes that there never was any sin but the concept of sin itself was an illusion even as the dreamer didn’t do any sin in the dream world.

If we have to get rid of the sin, then we have to constantly seek the ultimate reality of Lord through the path of Vedantic sravana (listening to the scriptural teachings about the Lord), manana (reflecting on the teachings about the Lord) and nidhidhyaasana (contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord). There is no other path to eternal state than this. The scriptures are unique on this.

Let us for a moment analyze as to why realization of one’s own very nature of Lord alone is the key to eternal state. If we consider ourselves as sinners, then sin becomes an essential nature – essential nature can never be removed or destroyed. If sins are destroyed by the grace of the Lord, then this means that sin was never part of the nature. In such a case, we have to accept that the sins are only illusory and seem to be present. But when the ultimate reality of Lord is sought out, sins are totally removed.

It isn’t possible to seek out somebody who is different from one’s own nature and become eternal. Eternal state is that state where there is no limited feeling. This unlimited state can only be there if the very nature of the individual is not different from the Lord. There can be no unlimited feeling if we consider the unlimited entity of Lord as different from ourselves. There can never be two unlimited entities – in such a case, both the entities will be the same itself. If we have to become eternal, we have to become unlimited. If we have to become unlimited, we should be of the nature of Lord alone.

Thus Vedanta says that we all are nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord alone. But somehow we forget our own very nature of Lord – there is no particular reason or cause for the same. When we seek the ultimate reality of Lord as our own very nature, then we realize our own very nature of Lord. Thus ends all search for infinite state, immortality, eternal bliss etc.

Therefore Vedanta says that search for the reality continues as long as the reality is not known. We all are currently searching in the external illusory world whereas the reality is inside as our own nature. Until we divert the search into our own nature, there will not be any end of the search. But once we divert the search, we slowly move towards the eternal bliss inherent in the Self. Thus when a person is progressing in the spiritual path, he can feel the bliss emanating – bliss which cannot be expressed but felt.

As the seeker progresses still further, there comes a time when he totally realizes his own very nature of Lord – after which there is no chance of getting deluded into the illusory objects – such a person then is always fixed in the ultimate reality of Lord even as Vritrasura was fixed.

Killing of Vritrasura in this story denotes killing of sins and the Ego. Only when the Ego is killed, the Self can be realized. It is the Ego that causes the mind to get diverted into the external world. Once Ego is killed through constant contemplation of the Lord, there will be nothing but the Lord alone. Vedanta calls this videhamukthi when all the adjuncts are completely destroyed and the seeker merges permanently into the ultimate reality of Lord. Vritrasura thus merged into the ultimate reality of Lord after getting rid of all adjuncts when Indra killed him.

Through this story, Bhagavatham points out to each one of us to kill the Ego and thereby merge into the ultimate reality of Lord. The way to kill the ego is by constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord – remembering the Lord at all points of time.

We thus come to the end of this wonderful story of Bhagavatham. Remembering the attitude of constant contemplation of the reality of Lord as Vritrasura, let us continue with the next story from the next day.

Before getting into the next story, let us once again focus ourselves on the primary goal of learning the various stories in Srimad Bhagavatham.

Modern day HR personnels put forth the view that any person has two goals – a long term goal which never changes and a short term goal which always keeps changing. Vedanta goes beyond this and says that there are no “two” goals but only one goal. Any being whether it is a devata, kinnara, mriga or manushyaa has the same primary goal. The ancient seers spent sufficient time to analyze and found out this primary goal to be ETERNAL BLISS accompanied by complete cessation of sorrow. It is this goal towards which each and every person is traveling either knowingly or unknowingly. Even if we say that my long term goal is to become the president of US, still this goal of becoming the president is so that there will money, fame etc. which all finally boil down to ETERNAL BLISS. If there is no bliss, no satisfaction, no contentment then the search for the same continues. If happiness was in money, then BILL GATES would be the most happy person which we for sure know that is not right. If power was happiness, then George Bush would be the most happy person.

Thus happiness is not in money, fame, power etc. It is because of this reason that a person doesn’t get satisfied by becoming the president for 4-5 years but wants to retain that always --- there is no satisfaction or contentment even while he holds the position. This is because all that is present in the world is temporary and cannot give eternal bliss. It might seem to be giving happiness in the short tun but will give sorrow alone in the long run. Thus Krishna says in Gita that the wise don’t take resort to cravings for sense objects as they know it to be temporary and sorrowful.

Once a person knows the place where he can get eternal bliss, then all his efforts will be directed towards getting eternal bliss. It is but lack of knowledge of where eternal bliss is which causes a person to go behind the temporary sense objects in the world. Only fools will go behind that pleasure which is full sorrow. It may also happen that even though many know the place where there is permanent happiness, they still go behind the sensual pleasures. This is only due to either lack of conviction or being habituated to the same – this is what Vedanta calls as vasanas.

Coming back to the analysis as to where can we get eternal bliss, eternal bliss is achieved only in that which is eternal. There is only one thing in the entire world which is eternal & that is the Consciousness, one without a second. It is the same Consciousness called as Brahman or Lord which is present in each and every individual. It is this Consciousness which makes a person live and is the light of all lights. But for this Consciousness, there will no existence of oneself as well as external objects. This Consciousness is independent and ever exists without any changes --- the external world objects as well as the inner equipments like mind, intellect etc. also depend on the Consciousness for their existence. But in deep sleep (the state where there is no external object), Consciousness exists as bliss eternal.

We all are in fact the same Consciousness alone. Realization of our own very nature of Consciousness is the solution or way to eternal bliss. It is the one and only way to get eternal bliss. This is no way depends on any individual whether he be a Guru or a Mahatma or an Ajnaani – the criteria or prerequisite for this realization is the desire to realize and constant contemplation of the reality. Lord Krishna makes this very clear in Gita where the Lord says that a seeker saves himself. The change or realization has to happen in the individual and not from outside. There can be outside thrust but this is of no use if there is no inner desire to realize. The scriptures have been proclaiming about this reality from time immemorial – many Mahatmas and avataaras have been shouting at the top of their voice – but still we dont find everyone realized. This itself shows that realization is individual and has to happen from inside. The Guru is only a means to create the desire in the seeker to realize and push the seeker towards that direction.

When a person realizes his own very nature of Lord or Consciousness, then he rejoices in the eternal bliss inherent in his very nature – thereby ends all thirst for happiness. This doesn’t mean that such a person will not be doing actions but it only means that interanally he will be established in the reality whereas externally doing actions as if acting in a drama or a dream world. Thus nothing can disturb such a mukta or liberated person. He is ever blissful and his very presence is sufficient to give bliss to ardent seekers.

If everybody is the reality alone, then why do only some realize it and others not?
Vedanta attributes this to ignorance or ajnaana. Somehow we seem to have forgotten our own very nature of Consciousness as the thirst for happiness and experience of sorrow points out. Therefore some who have realized their nature by getting rid of ignorance are every blissful whereas others seem to be in ignorance.

This play of ignorance-knowledge, bondage-liberation itself is only an illusion or a dream. Once a person goes beyond this play by realizing his own very nature of Consciousness, he realizes that there never was any ignorance or bondage – and that there never was any knowledge or liberation – everything was a mere play in the ultimate reality of Consciousness.

As explained earlier, the way to realize the reality is by having the desire to realize and constant contemplation of the reality. We have to always keep the reality in mind & try to offer all actions unto the reality with the knowledge that everything is but the reality alone. When a seeker does thus, his mind becomes purified & ignorance veil slowly fades. When ignorance starts fading, the seeker can experience bliss at some times (called as trance state). Once the seeker continues the path ardently, ignorance totally vanishes & he realizes the ultimate reality of Consciousness, ever blissful.

There ends all search for happinesss – it is only by realization of one’s own very nature of the ultimate reality that a person can get eternal bliss, contentment and satisfaction. Until then, the search continues.

Through learning of Bhagavatham stories, we are trying to constantly fix our mind unto the ultimate reality thereby progressing towards the reality. If we forget this goal of realization of one’s own nature of Lord, then study of Bhagavatham will be of no use. It will be like some other degrees which we get from universities – sufficient enough to give money, fame etc. but incapable of giving eternal bliss.

Let us all keep the goal in mind while studying the stories of Bhagavatham so that the search ends soon and there will be bliss, bliss and bliss alone.

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