Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Story 35 – Story of King Chitrakethu - 4

Sankarshana thus continued to Chitrakethu:

O King! In this world if a person gets the manushya shareera and still doesn’t know through enquiry me as the ultimate reality of Consciousness, then he will not get peace anywhere at all.

If a person is born in human body, then there is only one goal to be achieved by him which is knowing the ultimate reality of Lord as pervading each and every entity that is perceived – this is achieved through the sharpness of the intellect sharpened through concentration and contemplation.

O King! Therefore you thoroughly analyze my statement and after intellectually knowing the ultimate reality of Consciousness as the one and only entity, experience the reality as pervading everything (experiencing that there is nothing here but the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. With this, your life will become blessed.


Bhagavatham says here that peace can be achieved only by realizing the ultimate reality.

What is the ultimate reality???
Ultimate reality is that there is nothing here but the Lord alone of the nature of Sat, Chit, Ananda. Whatever is being perceived as differences in the world is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord alone. There is nothing whatsoever apart from the Lord, one without a second.

Until a person realizes this reality that there is nothing here but the Lord alone; there will be differences or duality perceived. As long as duality is perceived, there will always be likes and dislikes. These likes-dislikes will lead to attachment and aversion. These in turn will lead to happiness-sorrow. Thus the individual who is in fact one with the ultimate reality of Lord will consider himself as different from the Lord and will be deluded in the ocean of samsaara where there is only sorrows and sufferings in the long run.

Peace is achieved when a person is content with what he has. Contentment is possible only when there is eternal happiness and no more seeking. Thus peace, contentment, happiness are synonyms. When one is achieved, others are automatically achieved. Eternal happiness is achieved only when the eternal entity of Lord is realized. There is no other eternal entity in the world other than the Lord. Thus until a person realizes the reality of Lord, there will not be any eternal happiness. Unless there is eternal happiness, there will not be contentment or peace. Thus the seeker will be searching for peace in all places of the world. This is why we see people going from countries to countries, continents to continents, hills to hills in search of peace. We find the people from India going to the West in search of peace and happiness (which is generally termed as heaven or svarga). On the other hand, we find the people from the West imbibing the teachings of the spiritual masters in the East getting peace from the same.

Thus we have to remember that there cannot be any peace unless a person realizes his own very nature of Lord.

As Swami Chinmayananda mentions in many places, we have to start thinking about the purpose of life. Even though many western philosophers like Plato etc. have given much thought to it, it is only Vedanta which gives a crystal clear answer for this question of the purpose of life.

As Sankara mentions in Vivekachoodamani, human birth is very precious and it is only after lakhs of births in different species that we get a human birth. The very aim of human birth is to realize the underlying reality of the illusory world. The world of duality that we perceive is only an illusion in the reality of Consciousness or Lord. Whatever is seen as the world is only an illusion of names and forms of the reality of Lord. Thus to know that everything is the Lord and experience each and everything in the world as the Lord is the very aim of life. Until this aim is fulfilled, there will neither be peace nor happiness – these are two things that we are searching in life. This constant search for peace and happiness will end only when the ultimate reality of Lord is realized.

Thus life becomes fulfilled only by realizing the ultimate reality of Lord. When a person knows intellectually through the scriptures that everything is the Lord alone, then his conviction about the reality becomes strong. Once conviction becomes strong, even though he might see different things in the world – still he will see everything as the Lord. Thus he is ever established in the reality of Lord. He neither has likes nor dislikes – thus he neither becomes happy nor sad – he is ever blissful being immersed in the Lord at all times. This is what Bhagavatham tells as “blessed life” – life becomes blessed when a person gets what is to be really achieved – what is to be achieved is eternal bliss and peace – this is achieved when the seeker realizes the ultimate reality of Lord amidst illusory things of the world.

We will continue with the story the next day.

Having instructed Chitrakethu, Sankarshana Devata vanished. Chitrakethu started roaming around with siddhas and yogis praising the Lord. One day while he was traversing in space he saw Lord Siva with his bhootaganaas.

He saw Siva embracing Parvathi in the midst of all sages. Chitrakethu was very angry as Siva was doing adharma in public and as he (chitrakethu) hadn’t overcome the illusion of dvaita (he hadn’t yet realized the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord completely). He thus laughed aloud and mocked at Siva. Siva who was a poorna brahmanista did not get affected even a little by Chitrakethu’s statements. But Devi Parvathi was very angry and thus responded back: “Oh! Is this guy the one who is controlling the world? Who is he to advise Lord Siva who is prostrated by Brahma, Kapila and other gods? So I will teach this egoistic person a lesson”.

Therefore Parvathi cursed Chitrakethu that he may be born in the sinful asura vamsa or clan.


We come to a very interesting part of the story of Chitrakethu. As we have already seen previously, realization or vision of any particular form God is not eternal realization or moksha. Moksha is realization of that Lord who is behind the illusory duality that is currently perceived. So long as duality is perceived, realization is not complete. Realization is when the seeker realizes the dual objects in the world to be nothing but names and forms of the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus such a seeker even though might be seeing duality will not be affected by the duality due to the conviction that there is no duality at all, but the ultimate reality of Lord alone exists. This is similar to each one of us dreaming daily even though we know that dream is not real. Thus such a seeker becomes a jeevan muktha when he realizes the ultimate reality of Lord as underlying the dual objects of the world. A jeevan muktha might be meditating, preaching, enjoying worldly pleasures etc. but his mind is always established in the ultimate reality of Lord. He always knows that there is nothing at all here – that the differences that are seen is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord.

It is the very goal of human life to become a jeevan muktha who is beyond all limitations and is one with the ultimate reality of Lord. Such a jeevan muktha will not be affected by the activities in the world whatever it be. Thus we find here that even though Siva was insulted by Chitrakethu, Siva was always the same – Chitrakethu’s words did not create any tension or ripples in Siva’s mind. Such a mind is one which is totally immersed in the reality of Lord.

Thus we all have to yearn and try to have such a mind which is always established in the reality of Lord thereby not getting affected by the activities in the world. We may think that becoming a jeevan muktha is very tough indeed – but this is wrong. It is not at all tough to become a jeevan muktha because that is our own very nature. WE all are jeevan mukthas but unaware of our own nature. As we very well know, it is very tough to be something different from our nature. But to be our normal self, it is very easy. Thus we just have put an initial effort to come out of our wrong identification with the body-mind complex. Then it will be very easy to be the Self and hence we will become jeevan mukthas – ever established in the ultimate reality of Lord.

Bhagavatham through the illustration of Lord Siva shows us how a jeevan muktha behaves in the world and in turn directs each one of us to become like Siva – which is our own very nature.

As explained earlier, Chitrakethu was not yet realized & hence he became egoistic. This is what happens when a seeker gains little knowledge. When he gains some knowledge about the Lord, he becomes proud about the same. Add to it, if there is vision of some form of Lord – this ego grows very high. As Ramana points out, the toughest thing in realization is to overcome the ego by killing it & finding its source of Self. Thus Chitrakethu became egoistic and started judging people by their actions. It is but a fact that we cannot judge the actions of a jeevan muktha. A person who doesn’t know about computers cannot judge Bill Gates or James Gosling. In order to judge such a person, the seeker has to first learn about computers. Similarly we will not be able to judge the mahatmas by their activities. Instead we should always try to avoid judging and be ever established in the reality underlying the dual objects. But Chitrakethu was unable to do that & hence mocked at Siva. Siva who was a poorna brahma nista (one who is ever established in the reality of Lord or a jeevan muktha) did not get affected by this. But parvathi was affected & thereby cursed Chitrakethu. Thus we have to remember that the moment we try to differentiate things and judge people, we are entering into a realm of total sorrow like the curse which Chitrakethu received. Thus we should never indulge in such activities but ever be established in the ultimate reality of Lord.

We will see as to how the Lord plays with his devotees and how Chitrakethu was benefitted by the curse of Parvathi in the next day.

When Parvathi cursed Chitrakethu, he realized his mistake. He remembered all about the ultimate reality of Lord and knowledge that he had attained. Without getting disturbed even a little, he got down from his vimaana and approached Parvathi Devi. He said to Devi that the dual experiences in the world is only an illusion and therefore devi’s curse is only a boon to him, devi’s curse was just a means to test him & bring him back to knowledge. He said to Devi to forgive his mistakes. Then he got into the vimaana and went away. Parvathi-Parameshwara were surprised at Chitrakethu’s poised and calm nature.


As is the case with normal studies, Vedantic study also will be accompanied with forgetting and again remembering. It is wrong and foolish to become sad when the reality is forgotten – instead the seeker has to again and again bring the mind back to the reality whenever it is forgotten. This is what Lord advised arjuna as to control the uncontrollable mind – “O Arjuna! Whenever the restless mind goes into objects, control it and bring it forcefully to the Self”.

Faults and forgetting the Self are but very natural. We have accumulated millions of vaasanas that it is not easy to give them up all of a sudden. It is dangerous also to suddenly control the vaasanas. Instead we should try to reduce them by inducing good vaasanas. It will definitely happen that time and again we will be tempted into bad vaasanas but we should control it and again-again return back to the ultimate reality of Lord. This is the reason why Lord proclaimed to Arjuna that he who remembers the Lord while doing actions is a saint even though he might be doing the worst action ever possible. Thus whenever we forget the reality, we have to remember the reality again. If we are really devoted to the Lord, the Lord himself will make us remember the reality either through good ways or through harsh ways.

The Lord is so compassionate that he will not rest until the last person in the world has discovered his own very nature of Lord. It is but the duty of the Lord to reveal himself to the seeker who considers the Lord as different from himself.

Thus we find here that the Lord made Parvathi curse Chitrakethu so that he may remember the reality and overcome the sense of ego. The Ego will never die until the seeker gets the firm conviction that there is no duality whatsoever in the world. Ego is nourished when the seeker differentiates himself from other things. It is only then that the individual “I” starts creeping in. It is this individual “I” which clings to the body-mind complex and is called as Ego. The ego can be vanquished only when the sense of duality vanishes. Sense of duality vanishes the moment a seeker gets the firm conviction that there is no duality here – whatever is seen is but a name and form of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Chitrakethu had ego and hence the Lord through curse of Parvathi made him remember the reality of Lord which he had forgotten. When Parvathi cursed him, Chitrakethu remembered the reality all of a sudden. When a devotee remembers the reality that there is nothing at all but the Lord alone, then he is not at all affected by the activities of the world. This doesn’t mean that he will not be doing actions but just that he will be a mere witness to all activities happening in the world. He will be as if playing a role in the huge film of WAKING WORLD. Thus Chitrakethu become poised and calm. He thus approached Parvathi Devi and asked for forgiveness. This is the real sign of the Ego being killed. When a person differentiates between things/people in the world, he doesn’t want to bow down to anyone – he considers himself as greater than others. But once the ego is killed, then there is complete humility in such a jeevan muktha. He might seem to be lacking humility as he might not even respect other people – but that in itself is because he doesn’t differentiate anything & hence doesn’t see any other people to respect. But such a jeevan muktha who doesn’t mingle with the world is very rare – the mahatmas that we see around are all full of humility. With true knowledge comes humility. Thus when Chitrakethu remembered the reality of Lord, his ego was killed & humility came into his nature. He realized that there is nothing here but the Lord alone.

Therefore he asked for forgiveness with Devi and started from there. Parvathi Devi and Parameshwara were surprised at Chitrakethu’s calmness. It is but surprise for people to find Jeevan mukthas in the world. We can very rarely find such realized saints in the huge number of people in the world. Thus Parvathi Devi was surprised.

We have to constantly remember even here that a saint who has realized the ultimate reality of Lord doesn’t differentiate between anything. Thus even though Siva was surprised at Chitrakethu’s behavior, this surprised-attitude was only externally and not internally. A Jeevan muktha can never be judged by his actions – we can never judge him except rejoice in the bliss that emanates from his presence, still the mind with the peace that comes from his mere presence.

This part of the story points out that if a devotee is really devoted to the ultimate reality of Lord, then the Lord himself will make the devotee realize the reality by any means. Thus the devotee who has surrendered everything unto the Lord need not worry about anything. The Lord takes care of everything of such a devotee – the devotee just needs to constantly offer everything to the Lord, remembering the Lord at all times.

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