Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Story 40 – Story of Ambariksha – 5

When Durvaasa came to Vishnu for protection, Vishnu replied thus:

I am under the control of real devotees; I have no freedom of my own. Great seers who have contemplated upon me as the only entity present everywhere have conquered and bonded me in their hearts. O Brahmana! These are people who have renounced everything seeking shelter in me alone; how can I not help them?


In this part of Srimad Bhagavatham, the Lord mentions as to what is his weakness and how we can easily get the grace of the Lord. The statement of the Lord is not over yet and we will continue the same the next day as well.

The only weakness of the Lord is his devotees. Truly speaking, there is no weakness for the Lord because he is the one and only entity present. But from the empirical viewpoint, there is only one way to realize the ultimate reality of Lord. The way to realize that is through pure devotion. The Lord is bound by the devotee even as a worldly person is bound to sensual pleasures. This is because a person who is a real devotee of the Lord has the Lord in his heart at all times. The devotee always thinks about the Lord only – there is not even a single moment that passes by without remembrance of the Lord. Even as a father is bound by his child because of pure devotion of the child; similarly the Lord is bound by the devotee because of pure devotion of the devotee. As it is the responsibility of the father to look after his devoted child, it is the responsibility of the Lord to take care of his devotee who has renounced everything for the sake of the Lord. Thus there are multiple reasons of weakness of the Lord towards or about his devotees.

Therefore what Bhagavatham means here is that the Lord’s primary duty is to protect his devotees. Anything else comes second only for the Lord. In this particular story, the primary duty of the Lord is to protect his real devotee (who in this case is Ambariksha). That protection was given by the Lord through his own chakra. Saving Durvaasa was secondary for the Lord because Durvaasa was not a real devotee; instead he was just a siddha egoistic about his limited and illusory siddhis. Thereby the Lord says clearly over here that he cannot protect Durvaasa because Ambariksha was his real devotee saving whom was the main priority of the Lord. This is keeping in sync with the Lord’s own words in Gita that “I will take care of my devotees”. Thus for a real devotee, there requires nothing else. If a person has real devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord, then there is nothing else that is required in life. As the Lord mentions in the bhakthi yoga chapter that he himself will take the devotee through the ocean making the devotee cross the ocean of samsaara thereby realizing the ultimate reality of non-dual Lord.

Crossing over the ocean of samsaara characterized by sorrows and realization of the blissful Lord is the very aim of all beings irrespective of caste, creed etc. This can be achieved only through pure devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord remembering that the Lord alone is present here & everything else is only an illusion in the Lord. We all as seekers knowingly seeking the ultimate reality of Lord should strive to become pure devotees of the Lord which alone can make us achieve our goal of eternal bliss. Through these various stories of Bhagavatham which depict clearly that pure devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord is the only way out of the ocean of samsaara, we have to cultivate pure devotion. Pure devotion is constant contemplation of the Lord at all times remembering that the Lord alone is present as the substratum of all illusory names and forms. This is possible even while we are working in office or are driving back home or doing any other activity. There is nothing that we need to show externally that we are devotees; internally we just need to remember the Lord at all times, offering all our activities at the feet of the Lord. This alone is real devotion. Mere wearing of sacred marks, going to temple, singing the Lord’s names in bhajans – these are not real devotion. Real devotion is constant contemplation of the Lord in the mind whatever be the action that a person is doing externally. As Sri Ramakrishna gives the beautiful example of the maid in a rich house who looks after everything in the house but still her mind is always thinking and attached to her child at her house. Similarly we have to constantly remember the ultimate reality of Lord who alone is present as the substratum of all illusory names and forms in the world. Once we follow this, we are real devotees of the Lord and then the Lord is there to protect us from the ocean of samsaara thereby leading us to eternal bliss.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

The Lord continued:

Real devotees of mine are my very nature and I am their very nature. They don’t know anything apart from me and I also don’t know anything apart from them. I will tell you the way out of this problem that you are into now. This problem has been caused by you alone due to your anger. Therefore go back to Ambariksha and seek refuge in him. Know that if you try to show your siddhis to my devotees, it will only lead you into trouble.


The Lord proclaims in Gita:
kaama esha krodha esha rajo guna samudhbhavah
Mahaashano mahaapaapma vidhi enam iha vairinam

Desire and anger, these are born out of rajas (the quality of activity) - these bind a person and thereby cause him to do sins - therefore know these to be the enemies of seekers.

We find the Lord mentioning to Durvaasa that anger was the cause of the problem that Durvaasa was into. Anger and desire are caused due to likes and dislikes. When a person likes laddoos and doesn't get it, he becomes angry. Instead if he gets laddoos, he becomes attracted to it. Similarly if a person gets something which he dislikes, then he becomes angry. Thus anger is caused out of likes and dislikes. In this story, Durvaasa was egoistic about his siddhis & hence disliked what Ambariksha had done. If only Durvaasa had accepted Ambariksha's drinking of water as a means of breaking the vratha, all the running that he had to do would have been avoided. What was the great fault that Ambariksha did??? He just drank water in order to break the vratha.

Bhagavatham is here pointing to the likes-dislikes of each one of us. We have one or the other likes and dislikes in life. We not have have these but are totally attached to them. Situation is such that we cannot live without them. This bonding is the main cause of all problems. Only if we realize the futility of the entities of the world and have such strong bonding towards the Lord, we would be soon liberated from the ocean of samsaara. We are all Durvaasas in one way or the other getting attached to and averted from one or the other thing in the world. For some, it is job that is the object of bondage. For others, it will be family. Yet others, it is money. Thus one or the other way, we all are in bondage with the objects of the world not realizing that the objects are temporary and illusory. Since they are temporary and illusory, we tend to forget that they will lead us only to sorrows and sufferings as Durvaasa was led to. There will surely come a time when the object that we are bonded to will be lost -- during that time, we will become angry like Durvaasa. This anger will be directed towards the Lord in the case of believers of God. In the case of athiests, this will be directed towards either the parents or somebody else in the world. In the case of believers, the Lord will take care that they come to know the futility of bondage as Durvaasa was explained to by the Lord. In the case of athiests, the sorrow of other people will lead them to more and more sufferings. Since the activities in the world is all linked to the mind, therefore if the mind of one person is afflicted or affected that would in turn affect the mind of all other people. It is because of this that if we are in a hospital or a death-place, we will be sad even though we are not really sad. Similarly if go to a party where everyone is happily dancing, we will also feel like dancing.

Thus when athiests shout at other people, a sad vibration travels from the people towards the athiest. This in turn leads the athiest into more and more sorrow as a result of the action (every action has an equal reaction to it similar to Newton's third law). When the athiest faces more and more sorrow, he will finally end up believing the all-pervasive entity of Lord. Thus finally he will also be made to realize the futility of the bondage towards worldly objects by the Lord.

Isn't it better to seek the Lord than the worldly objects once we know the futility of the objects??? Yes, it is. If we dont accept this, we will be made to accept the same even as Durvaasa is made to accept by the Lord in this part of the story.

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