Friday, January 05, 2007

Story 39 – Story of Mahaabali - 09

The Lord continued and proclaimed thus: “I will always protect you and your family. I will be there always as a servant and you will be able to see me anytime you want“.


We find here the Lord asserting the same statements that he makes in Gita as to protecting his devotees. The Lord is a servant to his devotees who have totally surrendered unto him and are ever immersed in contemplation of him. It is very tough to realize the ultimate reality of Lord by constant contemplation but once a person is able to constantly contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord, the Lord is bound to protect & save the devotee.

The devotee who has realized the ultimate reality of Lord is a jeevan muktha who doesn’t have any desire in the world and thereby doesn’t need any protection at all. A person who knows that there is no world at all will need no protection as he knows that there is nothing apart from the ultimate reality of Lord. When there is nothing apart from the ultimate reality, what to protect from and whom to protect???

A person who knows that he is dreaming doesn’t require any protection of any dream Lord in dream. Similarly a jeevan muktha who lives in the world with the knowledge that the world is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord who alone exists doesn’t require any protection. But since a jeevan muktha has realized his very nature of the ultimate reality of Lord, the Lord is bound to protect him. At the empirical level, the jeevan muktha is protected always by the ultimate reality of Lord in one way or the other. We find starting from Sankara’s life history itself as to how the Lord comes to protect his devotees who have realized their very nature of non-dual Lord.

Once Sankara was approached by a kaapalika who had taken a vow to offer 100 human beings to kali. The rule for the sacrifice of the 100th person was that the person should be willing to be sacrificed. The kaapalika struggled a lot but couldn’t find a person who was willing to be sacrificed. Finally he met Sankara & Sankara agreed to the same. Sankara said that he would come to the kaapalika during night as then his disciples would be sleeping. Sankara thus started at night towards the kaapalika’s place. Somehow Padmapada, one of the four main disciples of Sankara, woke up and saw Sankara going somewhere. Padmpada followed Sankara. Sankara went to the kaapalika’s place & said that he will meditate for sometime & after that he can be sacrificed. As Sankara was meditating, Padmapada came there and saw what was happening. At that time, Narasimha came into Padmapada’s body and killed the kaapalika thus saving Sankara. Sankara woke up and saw Narasimha in Padmapada’s body thereby prostrating the Lord.

Thus we find here the Lord coming to protect the jeevanmuktha of Sankara though Sankara didn’t request for any help or protection. What can a jeevan muktha ask from the Lord other than constant contemplation and ever being immersed in the ultimate reality of Lord as he knows that everything apart from the ultimate reality of Lord is illusory?

Here we find in Mahaabali a jeevan muktha who was blissful and without any change though everything was being taken from him. This is possible only through the knowledge that there is nothing here but the non-dual reality of Lord which is one’s own very nature of Consciousness. It is this state of ever being established in the ultimate reality of Lord which alone can give eternal bliss and complete cessation of sorrow. This is the ultimate goal of human life. As long as a person doesn’t achieve this goal or work towards this goal, his life itself is futile and without of any particular use. Such a person who doesn’t work towards this goal of realization will be ever deluded in the ocean of samsaara (birth and death) characterized by sorrows and sufferings.

We are coming to the end of this beautiful story of Mahaabali – we will see as to what happened to Mahaabali after the words of the Lord in the next day. 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.

Thus the Lord send Mahaabali to Sutala. The Lord then doubting that Shukracharya will not finish the yajna started because of his disciple not listening to his words said Shukracharya to finish the yajna. Shukracharya replied back “O Lord! I do not have any grudge and hatred. I just played my part of Guru that’s it. I will very well finish the yajna”. Saying thus Shukracharya finished the yajna.


Unlike the common hearsay that Mahaabali was sent to Paatala, we find Bhagavatham clearly mentioning that Mahaabali was sent to Sutala with the promise from the Lord that he will always be present with Mahaabali as a servant and protector. This is one of the promises that the Lord makes in Gita that “renounce everything and seek me alone; I will save you from all sins; do not worry”. This is a promise that the Lord has been keeping in the various puranic stories as well as in the lives of many people in the current time. It is not necessary to be a jeevan muktha or avatar to have the grace of the Lord in one’s life. Even a normal person will find the Lord coming to his help during times of distress and trouble. There requires nothing from the seeker for the protection of the Lord except constant remembrance and surrender unto the ultimate reality of Lord.

In the world, if we need protection from someone either we have to hire bodyguards or get help from the police. Both would cost us money and require power, fame etc. in order to get such support. If we need promotion or worldly benefits, that also would require money in the form of service to one’s boss or the local ministers. But these protections from worldly people are not permanent. If a person gives 10,000 for a job and another person offers 20,000 then one’s job is gone because the other person has given higher money. Thus worldly protections always have their limitations. Bodyguards can protect a person during day but not completely during night when one is sleeping. But if a person gets the protection of the Lord, then there is nothing to be feared in all the three worlds because the world itself is controlled by the Lord (the world itself being a mere illusion in the substratum of Lord).

It is for this reason that the Lord clearly mentions a person to renounce everything and seek him. It is not possible to keep attachment and dependency with worldly things still seeking the Lord. The Lord will not be able to protect such a seeker even as the Lord didn’t protect draupadi initially when the kauravas were removing her dress while she was holding one hand to the end of her dress. In order to seek protection from the Lord, the seeker has to renounce everything and seek the Lord alone. If a person goes to the King seeking something and in the meanwhile seeks help from a minister as well, the King will not help him because of him seeking help from the minister. Similarly as long as we cling on to worldly things, the protection from the Lord will not be there completely.

Is it necessary to cling on to worldly things while seeking the Lord?
Not at all – if we seek protection from the Lord, then there is nothing that can stop us from proceeding towards eternal bliss. The Lord is equivalent to everything known and unknown in the world – thus seeking the ultimate reality of Lord alone is enough to grant us whatever we want worldly as well as spiritual. It is for this reason that we find that sincere seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord are given everything they want in life.

Thus Bhagavatham is clearly pointing and directing each and every seeker in the world to seek the ultimate reality of Lord alone renouncing everything else. Renouncing everything else doesn’t mean taking sanyaas and going to the forest. We find in Mahaabali perfect renunciation though he didn’t renounce anything externally. Renunciation is nothing but considering the ultimate reality of Lord as the primary aim and goal of life – everything else should be set aside for the ultimate reality of Lord. When it comes to giving priority to things in life, the first priority should go for the ultimate reality of Lord and realization of the Lord. This is what is real renunciation that the Lord propounds in Gita. Mahaabali renounced even his Guru for the ultimate reality of Lord who had come down on Earth to take away worldly possessions. Thus what a seeker needs to do is not external renunciation but internal attachment to the ultimate reality of Lord and having the Lord as the primary priority in life. If we do this, then we are assured of protection from the Lord at all times & the Lord will ensure that we realize the ultimate non-dual reality thereby getting eternal bliss – that which we all are seeking each and every moment.

We will have a short analysis of the three jeevanmukthas of vaamana, mahaabali and shukracharya in this story in the next day with which we will come to an end of this beautiful story of Bhagavatham.

Let us all renounce everything by giving first priority to the ultimate reality of Lord so that we may be always protected and guided to eternal bliss by the ultimate reality of Lord.

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