Friday, January 26, 2007

Story 40 – Story of Ambariksha - 3

In the last day we saw how the Lord had appointed the sudharshana chakra to take care of Ambareeksha. Today we will try to discuss in detail about this feature or promise of the Lord to take care of his devotees.

The Lord in many places in Gita makes promising statements to take care of his devotees. Few famous quotations are:

Ananyaaschintayantho maam ye janaah paryupaasathe
Teshaam nitya abhiyukthaanaam yogakshemam vahaamyaham

Those who seek me in all ways and without thinking about anything thing, their regular activities as well as good-bad I take care.

Sarvadharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja
Aham tvaa sarvapaapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shuchah

Renounce everything and take refuge in me alone; I will take care of all your sins and liberate you; do not worry.

The Lord has to date kept this promise of helping his devotees in all ways. Now the important question comes as to who is a real devotee. The Lord himself said in the above verses that he who thinks about the Lord alone & seeks the Lord alone renouncing everything is the real devotee. Renouncing everything here doesn’t mean that a person has to go to the forest after renouncing everything and meditate; but this only means that the Lord has to be given higher priority than everything else in the world. When it comes to thinking the Lord and one’s job, a person has to keep “thinking the Lord” as high priority. This doesn’t require a person to quit one’s job – it is wrong to think it that way and interpret the Lord’s statement that way. Vedanta never tells a person to quit whatever activity he is doing – instead Vedanta tells him to constantly think the ultimate reality of Lord while doing the activities thereby offering all activities unto the Lord.

Thus a real devotee is one who always thinks about the ultimate reality of Lord even while doing worldly activities – his mind is ever focused on the Lord (maam ekam sharanam). Whatever be the activity that he does in the world, his mind will be fixed on the ultimate reality of Lord. Such a devotee follows ananya bhajanam (seeking the Lord without any other thought). All other thoughts merely come and go but the thought about the Lord is constant and always present in the devotee’s mind.

The Lord here promises to protect and thereby liberate such a devotee. For those who are part-time devotees thinking about the Lord only when there is time and giving the Lord a lower priority, the Lord will not liberate them. Even if the Lord wants to liberate such a devotee, it is not possible because such a devotee will be ever immersed in worldly activities. The story of Uddhava and the pig highlights this point clearly. Once Uddhava asked Krishna as to why he didn’t give moksha to everyone – the Lord replied that very few want moksha & moksha can be given only for those who really seek it (mumukshus). Uddhava didn’t believe and started arguing with Krishna . Upon this the Lord said to Uddhava that he is willing to give moksha – go on your way and ask the first 10 beings you meet about moksha – if they are willing to have it, I will give them moksha. Uddhava started and he found a pig coming his way. Uddhava had the divine power of communicating with animals. Thus he asked the pig whether it wanted moksha. The pig asked him as to what is moksha??? Uddhava said that it is a state wherein there will eternal bliss. The pig replied by saying that I don’t want bliss and all – will I get filth there for me and my children to play? If yes, I will take the moksha – else I don’t want it. Uddhava ran back to Krishna and apologized. It is keeping this in mind that the Lord proclaims in Gita thus:

Manushyaanaam sahasreshu kaschit yathathi siddhaye
Yatataamapi siddhaanaam kaschit maam vetti tattvatah

Of thousands of people, few seek me; of such thousand seekers, very few know me in reality.

Thus the Lord can give moksha only to those who really seek it. For those devotees who are not really devotees but just seekers of worldly pleasure in one or the other form, the Lord will give them those worldly pleasures. But we have to remember that the worldly pleasures are the seeds of sorrow – hence alone with these pleasures, sorrow will also have to be borne by the seeker. Thus the seeker seeking worldly pleasure gets sorrow – he seeks further pleasure to get rid of the sorrow – thus the vicious circle continues without any end.

Instead if a seeker is a real devotee seeking the ultimate reality of Lord at all times, then the Lord will be always there to protect such a devotee though the devotee will not want any protection. The devotee doesn’t require any protection at all because he knows that everything is pervaded in and out by the Lord – thus whatever is really present is the Lord alone. If everything is the Lord alone, for what and from what is protection required???? But the grace and compassion of the Lord is so great that the Lord is ever ready to protect such real devotees (who are jeevan mukthas) at the empirical level if they come across any problems in the world. For them even problems at the empirical level are only illusions and like problems in dream world but the Lord is there to protect such devotees.

Thus the Lord appointed sudharshana chakra to take care of Ambareeksha and Ambareeksha himself was unaware of this because he didn’t request anything from the Lord as his mind was ever immersed in the non-dual Lord alone.

Bhagavatham through this story is telling each of us that we have to be real devotees of the ultimate reality of Lord so that the Lord will take care of all our needs. We will continue with the story in the next day.

Thus being ever immersed in the ultimate reality of Lord, Ambareeksha once with his wife was observing the dvaadashee vratham for a year. When Ambareeksha was about to end the vratha (as the time for ending the vratham was nearing), Durvaasa arrived there as the guest of Ambareeksha. Ambareeksha after treating the saint properly invited him for food. Durvaasa replied that he will have bath in Kaalindi river and be back.

The time to end the vratha was almost getting over and the sage was not back. Ambareeksha discussed this with Brahmins and decided to end the vratha by drinking water. The Brahmins told him that drinking water was like eating food and not eating food as well.

Durvaasa came back from his bath and came to know that Ambareeksha had drunk water. Durvaasa became very angry at this.


We will see as to how a siddha purusha who has attained few siddhis in life and a jeevan muktha react to worldly activities in the next day. But in short we see Ambareeksha doing the ideal thing of breaking the vratha but still not eating without his guest of Durvaasa. On the other hand, Durvaasa was very angry that Ambareeksha had drunk water!!!!

This is the way those who think they have attained something in life (out of arrogance) react to things in the world. If somebody is not invited to any particular discussion or is left over, it becomes an insult. This goes to such extent that various sanyaasins fought over as to who should be the Sankaracharya of Jyotir Math with few people claiming that they are the successors to the post!!! To think that these sanyaasins who follow the dasha naami system created by Sankaracharya and being part of the renounced sect still get attached to the post brings a seeker to remember that the power of Maya of the Lord is very tough indeed to conquer.

Sankara proclaims thus in Maya Panchakam:

Sruthi shatha nigamaantha shodhakaanapi
A haha dhanaadi nidarshanena sadhyah
Kalushayathi chathushpadaadhi abhinaan
Tu aghatitha ghatanaa pateeyasi maaya

Maya, that which creates things which are impossible to proven through logic, makes even a person who has been giving hundreds of discourses similar to the four-legged creatures clinging to worldly pleasures.

It is important for us to remember that all siddhis whether it is the siddhi of taking sanyaas or siddhi of being able to give beautiful discourse on any topic, all are mere illusions in the ultimate reality of Lord. These siddhis depend on the world and hence are illusions only. The reality is the non-dual Lord alone – everything apart from the Lord is a mere illusion of names and forms in the Lord. Remembering this, we have to always remember that Maya is ever looking for an opportunity to push the seeker into the ocean of samsaara. It is very tough indeed to conquer Maya – the one and only way to overcome Maya is by constantly seeking the ultimate reality of Lord. Such a seeker who is seeking the non-dual reality of Lord will always remember that the Lord alone is real & everything else is an illusion in the Lord. Thus whatever be the activity in the world, the seeker will not be affected by it. If something good happens to the seeker, then he considers it the grace of the Lord. If something bad happens, he considers it as the will of the Lord. He is not at all affected by worldly activities because he knows that the world is just an apparent appearance like dream in the ultimate reality of Lord.

The dialogue between Durvaasa and Ambareeksha is interesting – the way both react to this situation is more interesting. We will see this in the next day.

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