Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Story 39 – Story of Mahaabali - 03

Vishnu in order to save the devas thus took the form of Vaamana. Vaamana was a brahmachari with the sacred thread, deer-skin, danda (staff), kaupina, an umbrella, kamandalu, rudraksha etc. The face of Vaamana shone like the Sun.

Vaamana started directly walking towards the yajnashaala of Mahaabali. His walking was as if he was keeping each step carefully so as to not put weight on bhoomi devi (earth). People in the yajnashaala felt as if the Sun was entering the yajnashaala. Seeing him, everybody stood up and prostrated him. Mahaabali stood up and gave a seat for Vaamana to sit.


As we discussed in the previous day, Bhagavatham here is emphasizing again on the witness-hood attitude of a person. The ultimate reality of Lord is never affected by the activities in the world. But whatever be the dress or the role that the Lord plays, his face will reflect the brightness which is in the very nature of the Lord. Unlike the four-hand Vishnu form, here the Lord has the form of a brahmachari (to be precise a dwarf) wearing no ornaments but still the face shone like the Sun. This is why the scriptures proclaim that the Lord is brighter than the Sun – the Sun itself gets brightness from the Lord alone. A person who knows the ultimate reality of Lord verily becomes the Lord and hence he also shines like the Sun.

Ramana Maharshi was an apt example for the same. He was clad in just a kaupina. He never used to speak; didn’t go outside Tiruvannamalai. He was ever situated in any of the caves in Tiruvannamalai. But the fame of Maharshi spread even to the west thus bringing people like Paul Brunton and others from various parts of the world to the small town of Tiruvannamalai.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to always tell that a saint is like a flower – it will automatically attract bees wherever it is situated. A realized saint will thus ever be attracting people seeking everything ranging from worldly petty things to spiritual glory of realization. As the Lord mentions in Gita, whoever seeks the Lord with whatever desire, his desire will be fulfilled.

Through all these statements and illustrations, the scriptures proclaim that if a person seeks things in the world whether it is worldly material or realization, he should seek the ultimate reality of Lord through the various realized saints and their words. It is only through this that the seeker will be able to apprehend the glory of the ever present Lord thereby realizing the reality that there is no duality whatsoever here & whatever exists is only the Lord alone, one without a second. We all thus have to seek realized saints in order to apprehend the truth embedded in the scriptures and to get guidance regarding the path towards the truth. As various saints have proclaimed, India is a blessed country where we will find many realized saints and their traditions. We have the various sankaracharyas who have been imparted the truth from Adi Sankaracharya and still keeping up the tradition. We also have the various missions like Chinmaya Mission, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Ramakrishna Mission, Mata Amritanandamayi Math etc. (to name a few) who are propagating the ultimate reality of Lord and the way to the same through realized saints & their followers. It is but foolish if a person doesn’t seek these saints and still wants to get liberated from the ocean of samsaara. It is possible only for a very few like Prof. Balakrishnan Nair to get liberated without seeking any of the realized saints – this is possible only through strong intellectual conviction and punya karmas of previous births. For the normal people, realization is inevitable without seeking the various realized saints and following the path laid down by them towards the ultimate reality of Lord. Seeking the saints doesn’t mean that a person has to blindly consider them as God and follow them. This only means that the seeker has to tread the path towards the reality by having frequent satsangs with these saints.

Any realized saint will never proclaim himself as God and if he does so, he is not a realized saint. A person who acknowledges himself and everything as the Lord is alone a realized saint. A realized saint like Vaamana will not discriminate between things because for him everything is but the Lord with an illusory name and form.

It is very important in current times to not get caught into the hold of false Gurus. If a person is very fearful in following any of these Gurus, he can seek the saints who propound the truth in the scriptures through proper interpretation of the scriptures. It is very easy to find out a realized saint who will not at all go against the truth propounded by Sankaracharya and other acharyas like Chitsukha, Vidyaranya etc.

Let us all like true seekers of the reality of Lord seek the truth embedded in the scriptures through proper surrendering to the various spiritual saints (who are either in physical form or present as their teachings) thereby understanding the truth in the scriptures, gaining devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord and realizing our own very nature of non-dual Lord.

Mahaabali asked Vaamana what he wanted. Vaamana replied that he doesn’t have many desires but just wants space equivalent to three strides of his feet. Mahaabali replied “O Brahmachari! I guess you are not thinking much. I don’t want a person who has come to me seeking something to go to others for seeking. Hence ask whatever you want”.


In this part of the story, we find Mahaabali having a large heart and generous enough to give everything he had to people. It is indeed very tough to get such a heart and mind which is ready to provide whatever is being asked or sought. This in itself shows the high and elevated state of mind of Mahaabali. A person will be able to give whatever is present with him only if he is not attached to the things that he possesses. This is possible only if the person is a mere witness to the activities and possessions which he has. This attitude of witness-hood is what we saw in the last few postings. The Self or real “I” in each person is in fact a mere witness to all activities. But it is ignorance of this nature of oneself as the witness of all illusory activities which causes a person to consider himself as the ego associated and identified with the body-mind-intellect complex. When a person wrongly identifies himself with the ego, he gets associated with things and possessions. This association causes him to be attached closely and dearly to the possessions. As he is attached to his possessions, he will not want to part with the possessions. This causes a person to keep his things safe and out of reach of others. Even though there are many rich people who have more than what is sufficient for them, they are unwilling to share the same with others because of the superimposition with the ego and attitude of attachment to the possessions.

As various saints point out, the toughest part in the spiritual path is wherein the seeker tries to split the ego and the Self thereby identifying himself with the witness of Self. It takes lot of effort either intellectually or through practice in order to overcome the illusion of identification with the ego. It is possible through scriptural learning and complete surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord. Through knowledge, a person gets the conviction that he is not the ego but the Self. This becomes strengthened when it is put into practice by the seeker completely surrendering unto the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus through knowledge and devotion, a seeker easily overcomes the ego. Realization is possible only when the ego attitude is removed and the seeker identifies himself with the witness of the ultimate reality of Lord.

We find Mahaabali as a person who had conquered his ego as there was no attitude of possessiveness nor was there any attachment to the activities in the world. We will seeing the realized state of Mahaabali in the coming days while continuing with the story.

Mahabaali’s reply to Vaamana about asking whatever he wants is a way of the scripture to point out to all seekers that even though a person might get whatever he wants in the world, he will not be peaceful and happy. Happiness is never in the external entities but it is only in the ultimate reality of Lord as one’s own very nature of non-dual Consciousness. We find rich people in the world not being satisfied and peaceful with money like Bill Gates. We also find powerful people like George Bush and others still not being satisfied with the power that they have. All these show us that happiness, peace and satisfaction is never in the world but it is in the inner attitude of a seeker alone. Ramana Maharshi was happy with just a small piece of cloth – there are many saints in the Himalayas who are content with very little whatever they have. Vaamana will be answering Mahaabali’s reply in a beautiful way in the next part of the story which we will see in the next day.

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