Friday, January 05, 2007

Story 39 – Story of Mahaabali - 08

Mahabali continued:

My grandfather, Prahlaada, attained liberation by ekaantha bhakthi (one-pointed and concentrated devotion). Now I also have been brought to you who is considered as my enemy due to the flow of karma. This life is always temporary and waiting to be caught by death (mrityu) but those who have fixed their minds unto the insentient entities of the world fail to understand and realize this.


The world is filled with only two types of people (excluding the realized saints who are beyond the world as they have realized the ultimate reality of non-dual Lord who is the substratum of the illusory world) – one is the ignorant people and other seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Sankara propounds in Brahmajnaanaavaleemala that there are only two entities when analyzing the world and its reality status – one is drik or Seer of Consciousness or Lord or Brahman, the other is drishya or seen or insentient entities of the world. The Seer or the Subject of non-dual Consciousness who gives the light of existence for insentient entities alone is real. The seen or objects of the world is a creation of maya – it is that which seems to be existing but doesn’t have any existence at all. The objects are like water seen in desert – they seem to be present because of ignorance of the substratum of non-dual Lord. They are illusory because they are ever changing, temporary and insentient. Any changing and insentient entity requires a changeless, sentient substratum. This changeless sentient substratum is the Seer of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Those are ignorant people who consider the world of objects as real. Since they consider the world as real, they fail to apprehend the real substratum of the Lord. As long as a person considers the water seen in desert to be real, he cannot realize the substratum of desert which alone is real in this case. Similarly a person who considers the world as real cannot apprehend the substratum of the ultimate reality of Lord.

It can be questioned that what is the problem of considering the world as real??? This is what Bhagavatham is answering over here. The world since it is temporary will lead a seeker to sorrow and sorrow alone. If a person considers the water seen in desert as real, he will run behind the water for quenching his thirst. But finally, he will end up with no water. Since he expected water to be there & didn’t find it, he will become sad & even die of the expectation to find water. If a person considers the world as real, he will get attached to the world. The world which is temporary will vanish one day or the other. The entities of the world and the relationships that a person has towards the entities of the world will vanish one day or the other – when they vanish, the person will become very sad as he considered them to be real and eternal. Thus the ignorant person who considers the world as real will end up with sorrow and sorrow alone. This sorrow is what Vedanta terms as mrityu or non-existence. When entities of the world become non-existent or enter into mrityu, the seeker who is none other than the ultimate reality of Lord but considers himself as associated with these entities will become sad. This sorrow makes him stressful, in distress, non-peaceful, discontent with everything & finally will lead the seeker to a life full of miseries alone. It is but a pity that when the seeker is of the very nature of the ever-blissful and eternal Lord, he fails to realize the same & becomes sad due to being lead into the delusion of samsaara.

But the seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord knowing the temporary and sorrowful nature of the world seek the ultimate reality of Lord not giving much emphasis and importance to the entities of the illusory world. This doesn’t mean that such people discard the world because we find many of the realized saints as householders and kings leaving in the world all the while ever being established in the ultimate reality of Lord. Such jeevan mukthas knowing the world to be an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord consider the entire waking state as a long dream and play – thus they play their role in this illusory world to perfection still being ever fixed on the ultimate reality of Lord.

Thus it depends on an individual as to whether he wants to be an ignorant person seeking the entities of the world thereby leading him to sorrow alone or an intelligent seeker of the ultimate reality of Lord seeking which he attains eternal bliss which is his very nature itself.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

Seeing the Lord’s Virat form & Mahabali’s brave-ever steadfast state in the ultimate reality of Lord, all devas including Brahma came there. The Lord proclaimed thus to them: “this asura chakravarthi has conquered my Maya which is very tough indeed to conquer. He is not succumbing to sorrow even when everything is being lost for him”.


The Lord proclaims in Gita thus

Deivi hi esha gunamayee mama maaya duratyaya
Maameva ye prapadhyanthe mayaam etaam taranthi te

My divine Maya composed of the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas is tough indeed to conquer. But those who seek refuge in me alone, they easily overcome this delusion of Maya.

What is Maya??? Maya is the delusion of considering the world of names-forms to be real and forgetting the ultimate reality of Lord who is the substratum of the world. When a person considers the world of names-forms to be real, he enters into the ocean of samsaara. Samsaara cannot offer anything apart from sorrows and sufferings. Samsaara is so deep that it deludes a person into the vicious circle of birth and death.

Since everyone is seeking eternal bliss (which is ever-lasting) each and every moment, samsaara provides the seeker with exactly the opposite of sorrow alone. Thus a wise seeker analyzing the temporary and illusory nature of world shouldn’t seek the objects of the world. Instead he should seek the ultimate reality of Lord who is the one and only real entity present amidst the illusory world. The Lord himself mentions in Gita that “anityam asukham lokam imam praapya bhajasva maam” – having attained the temporary and sorrowful world, seek refuge unto me.

Maya of the Lord can be conquered by seeking refuge in the Lord. Seeking refuge is nothing but constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord remembering that there is nothing apart from the Lord here. A seeker has to always remember that the world of names-form is only an illusion and the ultimate reality of Lord alone is the reality and substratum of this illusory world. As long as a person remembers this reality, he will not seek temporary happiness from the illusory world. Instead the person will seek eternal bliss in the ultimate reality of Lord. As a person who knows that there is no water in desert will not run after water, similarly a seeker who remembers that the ultimate reality of Lord alone is real will not run after the illusory world. When the seeker constantly seeks the ultimate reality of Lord knowing that the Lord alone exists & there is really no difference between the Lord and himself, the delusion of samsaara vanishes. Thus the seeker realizes his very nature of Lord as the mere witness to all the activities in the world. Even as the witness of a movie is not affected by the state of the stars in the movie, similarly the seeker who has realized his nature of witness-hood will not be affected by the activities in the illusory world. Thus the seeker will ever be happy and without any change in expressions.

How can a person know whether Maya has been conquered?
This is one of the toughest question and on par with the question as to “whether I am realized or not”. The one and only criteria for this is whether a person is ever blissful and without any sorrow. Realization or moksha is rejoicing in eternal bliss and complete cessation of sorrow. If a person is able to be happy always whatever be the situation he is in the world, then he is realized.

Even when everything was taken away from Mahabali, he was without any sorrow and blissful. The Lord by his proclamations himself is surprised by the realized state of Mahabali. It is very easy to speak about the realized state but experience of the state is very tough indeed. It all matters when a person encounters bad and tough times – that’s when all knowledge and advises vanish. But a realized saint is not at all affected by the activities in the world – he is ever blissful as being situated in the natural state of the ultimate reality of Lord. Such a state is what is to be aspired by each and every seeker in the world. Realization and being in such a state alone is the way to eternal bliss – that which we are seeking each and every moment in the illusory world.

Let us all seek refuge in the ultimate reality of Lord and thereby be ever established in the ultimate reality of Lord so that we may overcome the tough-to-conquer Maya of the Lord.

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