Thursday, March 29, 2007

Story 43 – Story of Yayati – 01

Remembering the ultimate reality of Lord, let us start with a short introduction to the next story of Srimad Bhagavatham. The story we are staring is the story of Yayati. This is a story of a king who wanted to be ever youthful.

Youth as well all know is a stage in life when beings enjoy the most because they have all the vigor, energy, enthusiasm and courage to do things. This is one the stages where a person can either use all his strength to concentrate on good things or can be lead in the wrong direction never to come out of it. There are people who have concentrated fully on their youthful age to achieve things in life like power, money, education etc. On the other hand, we also have people who have been lead into drinking, smoking, sex etc. during their youth. This is the age when if the intellect is not properly guided, the person will be lead into the wrong direction taking into addictions coming out of which is almost impossible.

Since this is an age where a person can enjoy anything and everything in life (as there is sufficient energy and power in the body-mind-intellect for the same), everybody seeks to be in this stage of life. If we ask the majority of people in the world as to if they are given an option to go back to a particular age what would they choose, the answer would be “youth”. In this story of Yayati, we find the king Yayati exactly asking for youth like the majority of the people in the world. This asking of youth is because we are so much into identification with the body-mind-intellect complex that we don’t even bother to know our very nature of Consciousness or Self as distinct from the body-mind-intellect complex. Since youth is the stage of life when all the three of body, mind and intellect are perfect and at their full potential, therefore a seeker who is identified with these seeks to be ever in youth. Yayati thus in this story asks all his children as to whether they are willing to give up their youth so that he (Yayati) can be ever youth.

There are always two ways to learn things – one is the direct and simple way of learning using the intellect and logic; the second is the difficult and tough way of learning things by experiencing it. Taking the example of knowing that putting one’s hand in fire will burn it, the easy way is to use the intellect to ascertain that fire is hot and hence if we put our hand into it, the temperature will cause our hand to get burnt. The second and difficult way of learning it is by putting one’s hand into it. Once a person puts his hand into it and thereby gets his hands burnt, he will never again burn his hand.

Yayati here instead of learning that youth cannot give a person permanent happiness in the simple way, learns it in through the difficult way. Even if a person is given thousands of years for his youth, still the passion and desires will remain. Desires of the mind are so spread and increasing that is very tough to satisfy all of those. Once one desire is satisfied, ten other desires spring up in its place. This goes on and on without any ending and satisfaction. If at least a person was able to be content and happy with desires getting fulfilled, then it would have good to fulfill each and every desire in the mind. But this is not the case; all the desires in the mind are for temporary objects of the world which are present today but will surely vanish tomorrow. Such temporary objects of the world can never give eternal bliss but will only lead the seeker to sorrow and sufferings in the long run. Therefore a wise seeker will never go behind worldly pleasures. Since youth is also desired by people for enjoyment of worldly pleasures, a wise seeker will never go behind youth. Even though Yayati had got a lot of youthful years, still he found that the passion, desire and craving was not fulfilled (or completed). The passion to have more and more was still there. Thus he found out that youth cannot give a person eternal bliss and the bliss can be achieved only through realization of the non-dual reality of Lord.

Thus Bhagavatham through this story tells each of us to not to go behind worldly pleasures including youth as that will only lead us to sorrow and will never make a person content. Contentment can be attained only through realization of one’s own nature of Lord through constant contemplation of the Lord with the knowledge that there is only the Lord here and everything else is only an illusion of names & forms in the Lord.

We will start with the story from the next day.

Yayati was a King in the moon dynasty and a son of the famous King Nahusha. Nahusha did hundred ashwamedha yajna and got to the place of Indra. But he desired for Indrani and due to his mocking of the saptharishis, he had to be born as a snake on Earth. At that time, Yayati took over the kingdom and starting ruling. He married Devayani who was the daughter of the asura guru Shukracharya. Now there will be doubt as to how a kshatriya married the Brahmana putri Devayani – I will explain that to you.


We have just started the story of Yayati here. We haven’t yet entered into the story but we find here two important points regarding the life of Yayati’s father Nahusha. The story of Nahusha is quite famous and would be known by many. Nahusha did hundred ashwamedha yajnas. Indra, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva etc. are different posts in the various lokas even as we have President-ship, Primeminister-ship etc. The more good karma a person does the higher loka or world he will be in. As President-ship has certain prerequisite activities, these positions of Indra etc. also have some prerequisite. If a person is able to do those particular prerequisite activities, then the person will be eligible to take over that position. The position of Indra is given to any person who does hundred ashwamedha yajnas. Nahusha did that and hence was granted the position of Indra. But as we know, there is no end to desires. Whether we go to svarga or vaikunta or Kailas, still desires will be pending in the mind. We cannot put an end to desire unless we take the path of knowledge realizing the futility of worldly pleasures and desire only realization of the ultimate reality of Lord. This isn’t that easy to do. When there are worldly pleasures in front of our eyes, we tend to desire the same; this is because of lack of knowledge of the temporary nature of the objects thereby not getting control of the mind. Exactly the same happened with Nahusha as well. He did ashwamedha yajnas in order to rule heaven. But once he reached heaven, still his desire was not finished. He desired for Indrani – the wife of Indra. Kaamini Kanchanam are the two things that delude a person (kaamini is women and kaanchanam is sense objects). Indrani didn’t know how to tackle Nahusha. But she was intelligent and decided smartly that if Nahusha has to come and see her, he should be carried in the palanquin by the saptha rishis. One among the saptha rishis is Agastya who is shorter than other rishis. Nahusha when he was carried in the palanquin found that one of the sides was lower than the others and was moving slower as well (because of the shorter saint carrying it). He started tattering and finally ended up with a curse from the sage that he will be born as a snake.

Though Nahusha had worldly pleasures but still there was lack of knowledge of the temporary nature of the objects. Therefore he sought Indrani. He thought that he had everything under his control – thereby Ego was nourished and Ego came up when he found the saint not carrying the palanquin properly. Most of us face the same in the world. Since we are not endowed with knowledge or devotion or surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord, we end up being egoistic and doing mistakes. This Ego and the mistakes lead us in the wrong direction and into more and more sorrows in the illusory world. This story of Nahusha clearly shows us that our desires will never end but they will certainly lead us into troubles and sorrows alone. Thus a wise seeker should control his desires and direct it towards realization of the ultimate reality of Lord. A seeker thus should always remember the Lord – he should be satisfied with whatever he has. There is no problem in seeking things in the world (without which a person cannot survive in the world). But these seeking should be associated with constant thought about the Lord as the only real entity and as the substratum of the temporary and illusory world. This association with the Lord in our mind alone will save us from all troubles. Thus if something good happens, the seeker will consider it as the grace of God. If something bad happens, then the seeker considers it as the will of the world. Moreover the seeker knows that the world is only an illusion of names and forms in the Lord. As a person doesn’t cry over the death of his son in dream, similarly the seeker doesn’t worry about worldly possessions and activities. He ever remains focused on the non-dual reality of Lord – doing all activities as an offering to the Lord and constantly remembering the Lord at all times.

We will continue the story in the next day.

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