Sunday, February 18, 2007

Story 41 – Story of Saubhari Muni - 02

Mandaathavu was a king in the Sooryavamsa (soorya dynasty). He alone ruled the medini area (which was also called sapthadveepa). He was a knower of the Self and hence did many types of yajna as prayers to the ultimate reality of Lord.


This story starts with a king who is mentioned as doing all types of yajna in remembrance of the Lord. Generally we think that particular yajna or homas like agnihotra, sudarshana etc. alone are prescribed by the scriptures. But this is not true. Any yajna that is done remembering the Lord is the greatest of all yajnas – this has been defined by the Lord as Brahma Yajna in the Gita. This yajna doesn’t have many restrictions like other yajnas (like a brahmana, four priests for each Vedas etc.) and is easy to do.

The Lord speaks about this beautifully in the famous sloka which is chanted by many before intake of food. The sloka is thus:

Brahma arpanam brahma havih brahma agnau brahmanaa hutam
Brahmaiva tena ganthavyam brahma karma samaadhinaa

Brahman is the oblation, brahman is the spoon with which the offering is made, brahman is the fire, this is done by Brahman, what is to be achieved is also Brahman and this is done through the thought that “everything is Brahman”.

Isn’t this the simplest of all yajnas? The only condition or criteria for this yajna is the thought that everything is Brahman. As long as a seeker has the thought that everything is Brahman, all actions done by him are Brahma Yajna. This yajna or offering is the greatest of all because this is accompanied directly by the knowledge that there is only Brahman here. Thus while doing the action; the seeker is constantly contemplating on the reality that there is nothing here but Brahman alone. The Lord himself says that greatest of all yajnas is jnaana yajna (which is remembering the Lord while doing all activities). This jnaana yajna destroys action and fruits into ashes. It is only due to actions and craving for fruits that we end up in sorrows and sufferings. We do actions expecting a particular fruit. When we don’t get the fruit, we become sad. If we get the required fruit, we crave for more – this goes on infinitely until the seeker becomes fully immersed in sufferings. Then finally starts the search for bliss. Initial search is not in the form of knowledge but in the form of Mahatmas and siddhis from the Mahatmas!

Is it possible for a Mahatma to satisfy a person through siddhis? No, not at all. A seeker can be satisfied only through knowledge and knowledge alone. Once a Mahatma satisfies few needs of a seeker through siddhi, the seeker will go forth with more siddhis. I have seen many people in the world devoted to AMMA, Sri Sri Ravishankar and other saints but seeking only worldly benefits. The fact is that nobody wants knowledge – since they have got used to enjoying pleasures through the siddhis of these saints, their mind is engrossed in those alone.

The Lord thereby says that out of thousands of people, few alone seek him; out of those striving seekers, only still few know him reality.

When a seeker knows the futility of worldly pleasures, then he will seek knowledge alone. When we hear the term “knowledge”, we think that it is learning of all Vedas, Upanishads, brahma sutra etc. Knowledge is not studying these scriptures alone but studying the import of these scriptures. Knowledge is knowing that there is nothing here but the Lord alone. This alone is the real knowledge that is to be achieved from the study of scriptures. Once a seeker knows this, then he remembers this while doing all activities. Thus though externally he might be immersed in worldly activities, internally his mind is ever fixed in the Lord. Mandaathavu who was a knower of the Self was performing this yajna only – constant remembrance of the Lord while doing all activities.

A person who is following this yajna will ever be blissful – whatever be the situation that he is in, he will still be happy. If he loses his job, still he will be happy. If he loses his partner or love, still he will be happy. If he loses money, still he will be happy. If he loses his own Guru, then also he will be happy.

This is what Sankara proclaims beautifully as:

Yogaratho va bhogaratho va sangaratho va sangaviheenah
Yasya brahmani ramathe chittam nandhathi nandhathi nandhathi eva

A person might be doing yoga or enjoying sensual pleasures; he might be attached to people or detached with people; but as long as his mind is immersed in the Lord, he will ever be rejoicing in bliss, bliss and bliss alone.

Maandathavu had three sons and fifty daughters from his wife Bindumathi. His fifty daughters were married by Saubhari Muni. You will be wondering as to how the muni came to marry the daughters of Maandathavu. I will tell you the same.


Who is a muni?
Sankara in many of his bhashyas defines muni as mananasheelah or one who has controlled his mind through reflection.

Thus muni is one who has controlled the mind which is very tough indeed to control. The easiest way to control the mind is by offering the mind itself to the Lord. When the mind has been offered to the Lord, then there is no “my mind” to be controlled. Thus there is no personal mind for the seeker to control. This is why the Lord proclaims in many places to offer everything unto the Lord and that he will take care of everything.

It is but a fact that everything is controlled by the Lord alone. The famous saying “man proposes, God alone disposes” is a proof to this. Ramana himself has proclaimed that “karthuraajnayaa praapyathe phalam” – fruit is ordained by the Lord alone. It is only an ignorant and egoistic person who considers himself as the doer and controller of all actions in the world. Though George Bush, Osama Bin Laden, Alexander and other great kings have tried to control the world they haven’t been able to do so. When such kings are not even able to control their mind (which runs after all sensual pleasures), then what to speak about control of the world?

As long as the seeker doesn’t realize that the illusory world is controlled by the non-dual reality of Lord, he will be into troubles. It is ignorance of this knowledge which causes a person to try to seek sensual pleasures, control the mind, tries to experience Samadhi etc. A real devotee of the Lord will not enter into any of these because he knows that there is nothing here but the Lord alone. Thus for such a devotee there is neither control of the mind nor control of desires – he knows that there is only the Lord here & thereby has offered everything (all illusory things in the world including one’s body-mind-intellect) to the Lord.

It isn’t as easy to surrender and offer everything to the Lord as it can be spoken about. Though we may be able to do it when we are reminded by the scriptural statements or any discourse statements, still we may not be able to do it consistently. As Chinmaya’s Guru Tapovan Maharaj proclaimed to him “O Chimaya! Vedanta is easy to learn; still easier to preach; but it is real tough to practice”.

Though when Mahatmas proclaim that “offer everything unto the Lord; remember the Lord while doing all activities” etc. it isn’t as simple to remember the Lord. The mind which has been indulging in sensual pleasures for births will be continuously trying to distract the seeker from the thought of the Lord into the illusory pleasures of the world. It is only the seeker who has gained conviction that there is nothing here but the Lord alone and everything is an illusion in the Lord, who will be able to overcome the passions of the mind by continuously contemplating on the Lord.

It doesn’t really mean that we have to renounce all desires; but just that while enjoying any desire or pleasures, we should remember the Lord as well. A mother while working in office will still be thinking about her child; a husband while working will still be thinking about his wife and children; a lover will be always thinking about his love whatever he is doing; similarly a seeker has to always think about the Lord whatever the worldly activity that he is doing be.

If we are unable to remember the Lord at all times, we will be deluded into the ocean of samsaara through desires of sensual pleasure. This is what had happened with Saubhari Muni who married the children of Maandathavu. We will see as to how he came to marry in the next day.

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