Thursday, March 08, 2007

Story 42 – Story of Khatvaanga - 01

Story of Khatvaanga - Introduction

It is very important to remember the main import of the ultimate reality of Lord while learning the stories of Srimad Bhagavatham. Remembering the Lord as the one and only entity present, let us start the next story of Bhagavatham. The next story that we see is the story of Khatvaanga who was a chakravarthi in the soorya vamsa (sun dynasty).

We see in the puranas as well as the Upanishads mention about more kings who were realized than sanyaasins. This is mainly taking into consideration that external sanyaas is not meant for all and it is undertaken only by one in a crore. Thus the majority of people are still in the world living like a normal worldly person. In order to show to all such people that living in the world is not against being realized or progressing in the spiritual path, puranas explain the stories of various kings as jeevan mukthas.

Though it is very hard indeed today to find jeevan mukthas as grihasthas, it is not impossible. It doesn’t matter as to where we are, but what matters is the attitude that we have towards the world. The world in reality is only an illusion of names and forms in the ultimate reality of Lord. If this is so, then the environment, the surrounding, the place, the time etc. are only illusions in the Lord. When a seeker understands and remembers that there is nothing here but the Lord alone, it doesn’t matter where he is or what he is doing. For such a seeker who remembers the non-dual reality of Lord as the only entity present in the illusory world – since he knows and remembers the Lord alone to be present, the environment doesn’t affect him. He remains as a mere witness to all the activities in the world even as a person watching a movie is a mere witness to the activities in the movie.

Khatvaanga similar to Ambariksha and other saints was a jeevan muktha who had ascertained about the ultimate reality of Lord very early in his life. Once a seeker ascertains that there is nothing here but the Lord alone, then there cannot be a single moment when the seeker is not contemplating on the Lord. A person who knows that there is no water in desert will always remember desert when seeing water – similarly once a seeker knows that the world is only an illusion in the Lord, each time he sees the world it will be ascertaining that there is no world but the Lord alone exists.

This path of constant remembrance of the Lord as the only real entity present is simple and easy to follow for everyone. This doesn’t need specific time and place like meditation; this doesn’t require a person to go to the forest or take sanyaas; this doesn’t require a person to renounce anything; this doesn’t even require lot of intellectual thinking also; the only requirement for such a saadhana is constant remembrance of the Lord and that the Lord alone exists here.

If chakravarthis like Janaka and others could achieve it, we also can achieve it easily as we aren’t involved in too many worldly activities like them. Bhagavatham is again and again reasserting that we all can do it quite easily since great kings have achieved it. This story doesn’t involve much of the story components but knowledge about the reality is explained beautifully and in depth which we will see starting the next day.

Khatvaanga was a king in the sun dynasty. He was ever immersed in the ultimate reality from his childhood. Once when Indra was attacked by asuras, he sought the help of khatvaanga. Khatvaanga obliged and with his help, Indra won the battle with the asuras. Indra offered the pleasures of heaven to khatvaanga. Khatvaanga was ever rejoiced in the eternal bliss which is the very nature of Lord. And hence khatvaanga refused whatever Indra had offered.


Srimad Bhagavatham is here emphasizing through khatvaanga that all sensual pleasures are of no use and importance to a seeker who is ever immersed in the thought of the Lord. Such a seeker has eternal bliss - that which everyone is seeking irrespective of caste, creed etc. Since such a seeker has achieved that by achieving which nothing else remains to be achieved, therefore there is nothing to be achieved by such a seeker. Moreover a person who seeks temporary and sorrowful things of the world when he knows that they will give sorrow only is a fool.

This is simlar to a person running after the water in the desert knowing that there is no water. Such a person who goes after sensual pleasures after knowing that there are illusory and sorrowful is called a donkey by yoga vasistha. Lord Krishna calls such people as moodaah or foolish people in the Bhagavad Gita.

It is but sad that most of the people in the world are running after the worldly pleasures which give sorrow and sorrow only in the long run. Though these worldly pleasures seem to give happiness initially, they give sorrow only in the long run. The same object which seems to give happiness now will give sorrow once the object itself vanishes. The world and its objects are constantly changing. That which is changing constantly will be subject to birth and death. If a seeker gets attached to such an object which will die one day, he will become sad once the object dies. Thus the objects of the world will give sorrow only in the long run. Therefore a wise person and a realized saint will never seek the objects of the world. The wise person will always seek the eternal reality of Lord who is ever present and blissful in nature. Here we find such a realized saint in khatvaanga who refused the worldly pleasures of heaven offered by Indra. He refused the worldly pleasures because he knew that those worldly pleasures will give sorrow and sorrow only. Moreover once a person tastes the eternal bliss inherent in the Lord, then nothing will attract him. Even as the addiction of drug attracts a person again and again, similarly the addiction of eternal bliss of the Lord will attract the seeker again and again until he realizes his very nature of Lord.

We will continue the story in the next day.

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