Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Story of the churning of the ocean - 05

Both devas and asuras became happy by the drinking of the poison by Lord Siva. They then started the churning again. Many things started coming out continuously out of the churning. Kaamadenu came out of the churning. The rishis, keepers of the Vedas, accepted it. Ugrasravas, the while horse, and the white elephant Airavatha also came out of the churning. Indra took over them. Next was the kaustubha jewel which the Lord Vishnu took and wore around his neck. Next came kalpavriksha and apsaraas. Devas accepted these to keep in the devaloka. Then came lakshmi devi showering brightness in all the four directions. Everybody was attracted to Devi. Everyone took something or the other and went to lakshmi devi to marry her. But she didn’t find perfection in anyone. If lakshmi devi could find someone perfect in all aspects, he was not seeking lakshmi devi. Finally lakshmi devi decided to marry mukunda even though he was not at all attracted or attached to lakshmi devi.


Bhagavatham enumerates the various things that came out of the churning. As we have already discussed, a seeker who is in the spiritual path will be gifted with all things and siddhis. Whatever will be sought out by the seeker, he will get it without doubt. A real devotee as we have discussed is one who has totally surrendered to the ultimate reality of Lord or to the Guru who is but the embodiment of Lord.

Mundaka Upanishad says thus:

Yam yam lokam manasaa samvibhaathi
Vishudhasattvah Kaamayathe yaamscha kaamaan
Tam tam lokam jayathe taamscha kaaman
Tasmaat atmajnam hi archet bhoothikaamah

Whatever world or desires arise in the mind of a realized saint (vishuddha sattvah is one whose mind is pure), that all are achieved. Hence a person who seeks any desires or world achievement should seek such a person and surrender unto him.

Sah veda etat paramam brahma daam
Yatra vishvam nihitham bhaathi shubhram
Upaasathe purusham ye hi akaamaah
Te shukram etat athivarthanthi dheeraah

He who knows the ultimate reality of Brahman attains that place which is pure, bright and where the world is supported. He who seeks and surrenders unto such a realized being (devoid of any desires), that wise person crosses over the bondage of body (birth and death).

The above slokas mention that a seeker who seeks either the Lord or a realized saint will have all his desires fulfilled. Fulfillment of desire is not the final aim of life. Desires will go on increasing. Manu mentions in Manu Smrithi that if a person thinks of eliminating desires by enjoying them, then it is similar of trying to extinguish fire by pouring ghee. The fire will not get extinguished instead will burn more vigorously. Similarly if a person thinks that desires can be eliminated by enjoying them, he is wrong. Desires will go on and on without any end. There can be an end to desires only if the seeker realizes his own very nature of the ultimate reality of Lord. It is only through this way that the seeker overcomes the illusory bondages of the world. When bondages are removed, the seeker realizes his very nature of perfection. Desires arise out of the goal of achieving perfection. This is only due to the ignorance of one’s own perfection and thought that “I am imperfect”. We all are in reality the ultimate reality of Lord alone – perfect in all aspects as there is nothing apart from the Lord here. Imperfection can be caused only when there are two things & one limits the other. But, there is nothing apart from the Lord & hence the Lord is perfect. As there is nothing apart from the Lord, we all are the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of Sat Chit ananda. It is only ignorance of our very nature of Lord that causes us to seek perfection thereby giving rise to a number of desires.

The various desires will of course be fulfilled for a devotee as he seeks none other than the ultimate reality of Lord – the controller of the illusory world. But along with desires being fulfilled the devotee will also be made to know about the reality behind the world. When the devotee thus realizes the world to be but a mere illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord, he stops seeking temporary and illusory things of the world. Thus ends all desires through proper knowledge about the illusory nature of the Lord and the ultimate reality of Lord as the non-dual reality.

Through the mentioning of various things coming out of the churning, Bhagavatham is emphasizing on one hand the fact that a devotee will get everything he wants & on the other hand indirectly saying that desires will have to be ended in order to get immortality. This is symbolized through continuing the churning even after getting many great and valuable things. Similarly a seeker has to stop not until the ultimate reality of Lord has been realized whatever be it that he gets in between should be known as temporary and illusory. Enjoyment of desire is not wrong but it should be associated with the knowledge that the enjoyment is temporary as the entity which gives the enjoyment is temporary. Everything apart from the ultimate reality of Lord should be known and kept in mind as mere illusions in the ultimate reality of Lord. Only for the seeker who continues the spiritual journey until realization of the Lord happens, there will be immortal bliss in the form of realization of his own very nature of Lord.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

The devas and asuras continued the churning. Finally a divine being arose with a pot in his hand. He was ayurveda acharya and an amsa avatar of Vishnu known as Dhanwanthari. Immediately the asuras took the pot from dhanwanthari. Being helpless, the devas took refuge in Vishnu. Bhagavan consoled them by telling that he would get the amrita from the asuras by Maya and give them the same.


The devas and asuras continued the churning even after getting many things out of the churning. Finally they were rewarded with amrita. A seeker who wants immortality should not stop until he reaches the final goal of realizing the ultimate reality of Lord as his very nature of Consciousness. This process or path till the final goal is very tough. Hence saints proclaim that spiritual path is like walking along the edges of a razor. There will be all sorts of obstacles in the spiritual path. The seeker should constantly remember the goal of the ultimate reality of Lord and thereby offering everything to the Lord progress further. This is what is indicated in the churning over here wherein the devas/asuras didn’t stop until amrita was attained.

A real seeker is one who has his mind completely set on the ultimate reality of Lord. Since the seeker has his mind set on the goal, he will always work towards the goal. Whatever happens in the path to the goal, the seeker will not stop; instead he will take everything as a blessing from the Lord and continue in the path. We all have to be real seekers seeking the ultimate reality of Lord and keeping the mind fixed unto the goal. Nothing should divert the attention of the seeker from the goal. It is only for the seeker who has the goal fixed always on the ultimate reality of Lord that amrita or immortality will be achieved. In order to realize the ultimate reality of Lord, there is nothing else but constant contemplation of the Lord alone is required. This contemplation should be such that the seeker always remembers the Lord whatever be the situation or surrounding or environment. Pure devotion is always fixing the mind unto the Lord. This is called love and the love that a lover has towards his love & that a mother has towards her children. Though such pure love cannot be found even in mothers of today – these were present in ancient times. These days pure love can only be found in real devotees and jnaanis. All other people have their own interest as the first preference. Such selfish attitude arises out of ego and ignorance of the reality behind the illusory world. It is only when a seeker identifies himself with the body-mind complex that he becomes attached to his own body. Thereby he gives high preference to the body-mind complex than others. But for a devotee everything is but the presence of the Lord only – hence he sees everything as the Lord. He doesn’t differentiate between anything. Such a devotee who knows the Lord as the underlying reality amidst the illusory world alone constantly contemplates on the ultimate reality of Lord. Such constant contemplation alone can lead a person to the final goal of realization of one’s own nature of Lord.

When amrita came out of the churning, the asuras caught hold of the amrita. This is what generally happens. Whenever something good happens or a person is progressing in the spiritual path, asuric tendencies overtake the mind. Thus the seeker who is progressing in the spiritual path will be put to test by the asuric tendencies of the mind in the form of jealousy, attachment, aversion etc. It is very tough indeed to control the mind by getting rid of these asuric tendencies and focusing on the Lord. It is during these times that a seeker has to understand the state of helplessness and seek refuge in the Lord. We have seen that the Lord saves those who take refuge in him. Therefore the devas took refuge in the Lord. When a seeker is overcome by asuric tendencies, his good tendencies which include devotion, knowledge etc. leads him to take refuge in the Lord. When the seeker takes refuge in the ultimate reality of Lord, the Lord saves the devotee through destruction of the asuric tendencies. This is with the help of the illusory power of Lord termed as Maya. The Maya is that power which deludes a person into the ocean of samsaara – but for those take refuge in the Lord, his power of Maya will be used to save the devotee and lead the devotee towards the goal (removing the obstacles in the spiritual path).

Thus whenever a seeker gets asuric tendencies, he should immediately surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord and seek refuge in the Lord. It is tough to seek the Lord during bad times; hence the scriptures mention the seeker to always seek refuge in the Lord by total surrender at all times. Such total surrender and refuge in the Lord alone can easily save the seeker from asuric tendencies and make him focused on the ultimate reality of Lord.

Let us all like the devas seek refuge in the ultimate reality of Lord at all times thereby ensuring that the Lord is there to save the seeker from the asuric tendencies.

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