Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Story 43 – Story of Yayati - 02

Once Gharmista (the daughter of asura chakravarthi) was playing in her garden filled with lots of trees along with Devayani (the daughter of Guru Shukracharya). They removed all their clothes, kept it nearby and started playing in the pond in the garden. Splashing water on one another those beautiful lotus-eyed youth forgot everything and became immersed in playing. Unexpectedly, Siva along with Parvathi went through that place. Seeing Siva-Parvathi, the youths became startled and took their clothes after coming out of the pond. Amidst this confusion, Gharmista unknowingly took the dress of Guruputri Devayani and started wearing it. Seeing this, Devayani got angry and started uttering bad words against Gharmista. Gharmista not only did react through words but took away Devayani’s clothes, pushed her into a well and returned back home.


Interestingly we see an echo of how the world and the people in the world are reacting today in this part of the story. Seeing little worldly pleasures, we get so immersed in them and forget everything else. We can very easily related ourselves as everyone would have faced such situation sometime or the other. Worldly people are so deluded by worldly objects and the pleasure achieved out of those objects that those are enough to totally forget one’s mind and behaving like a mad person.

We generally call people who do crazy things without any meaning as mad people; but we ourselves go behind temporary worldly pleasures and once we get something, we become excited, crazy and go mad. When a person goes mad, he loses his discrimination. Thus such a person does things illogical and without thinking as to what he is doing. We find here the young women getting into the pond and forgetting everything. They started playing in water forgetting the state in which they are and as to what is the environment. Bhagavatham through this beautiful depiction is telling each one of us that we should never behave like a mad person when we achieve or come in contact with worldly pleasures. Whatever pleasures we achieve, we should always remember that the pleasures out of worldly objects are temporary and short-lived. This is because the worldly objects themselves are temporary. The temporary worldly objects cannot give eternal bliss. But we are so deluded into considering the objects as eternal that we go behind them only to finally end up in misery because of the same. Unless we realize and understand the temporary nature of worldly objects, we will not stop craving and running behind them like mad people. If we remember the temporary nature of worldly objects, we will be seeking eternal bliss in the only eternal entity of Lord. Such a person who doesn’t seek worldly objects but seeks realization of the ultimate reality of Lord is termed a mumukshu (one who desires liberation from the bondages of samsaara). If we all want eternal bliss (which is what is the ultimate goal of all beings), we should not run behind worldly pleasures and direct all our efforts towards realization of the ultimate reality of Lord.

The young women in this story forgot everything because of the temporary pleasure of playing in water. This lead to Gharmista and Devayani fighting when all of them suddenly saw Siva and Parvathi. Both of them started fighting over the dress of Devayani. This is like the famous Siva and Vishnu fight (as to who is greater). More recently this is depicted through the Cauveri issue between two states. We forget that these temporary and worldly objects are only illusions in the reality of Lord. Forgetting our very nature of Self as distinct from body-mind complex, we start fighting about possessions. Little do we realize that these possessions will be there only till we die – the body which is the greatest possession of a samsaari itself is not permanent; then what to speak about dress? But ignorance of our very nature of Lord distinct from the body-mind complex, we start fighting amongst each other.

This fight is visible toward in every place. Go to school and we find fight in the name of “competition” – though we term in beautifully, it is one and the same only. Starting from the school, children are showed as to how to fight. Earlier it was fighting openly but now it is “civilized” and “cultured” fight!!! This goes on and on until a person dies. As if it was not enough, children fight over the body and money of the dead father!!!

Such fights over silly worldly issues are due to ignorance. Such ignorance can lead us to one and only one thing – misery in the end. This is what happened with Devayani who is the one starting the fight. She fought over her dress and finally ended up in the well.

Bhagavatham through this story is depicting that though we are all cultured people and even may be sons/daughters/disciples of great Mahatmas, but still unless we realize the non-dual reality of Lord we will be fighting over petty things and finally end up in misery. We, as seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord, shouldn’t fight over petty things and always contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord.

We will see as to what happened to Devayani in the next day.

At the same time (when Gharmista pushed Devayani into the well and returned home), Yayati was tired of hunting and feeling thirsty. Yayati was searching whether he would get water somewhere. He came to the well where Devayani was lying. He peeked inside the well and saw Devayani lying there. Yayati threw his uttari (the shawl) and pulled Devayani out with the help of that (as he was feeling compassionate towards her). Devayani thus came out of the well and her face flushing with love proclaimed thus to Yayati: “O King! You have caught hold of my hand. The hand that has been touched by you shouldn’t be touched by anybody else. Our association is destined by Lord himself. We didn’t catch hold of each other by desire but it happened by itself; what more to say than this that this has been destined by God. Kachan, the son of Brihaspathi, has also cursed me saying that I will not get married to a Brahmana”.

Yayati also thought that this was destined by God and hence accepted her words as such.


We come across one of the beautiful and simple yet controversial topic of DESTINY or FATE in this part of the story. Let us for some time analyze the aspect of fate so that we may be able to always contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord overcoming the so-called fate which could be anything ranging from the words of Mahatmas or the pre-destiny of even Lord Brahma.

There is a beautiful article about Fate and Freewill which is in the form of a discussion between the world renowned jeevanmuktha Chandrasekhara Bharathi Swamigal of Sringeri and one of his disciples. The link for the same is http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/articles/The_Riddle_of_Fate_and_Free.htm.

Is it really required to analyze on fate when there is one and only one reality existing which is the non-dual reality of Lord?
No, it isn’t required. Though ultimately the Lord alone exists; still at the empirical level, we are all bound by certain laws knowing which is essential in order to get out of the bondages. Getting out of such illusory bondages is essential so that we may be easily able to always contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord which is the only way to realize our very nature of Lord.

There are many people who consider things as being granted and pre-destined by Brahma or Vishnu or some God in heaven. This is not the case. There is only one law that governs everything at the empirical level starting with various births to achievements and other things. This law is the great law of karma or action and phala or reaction. This cycle of karma and phala is endless. It is impossible to find out as to which started first – either Karma or phala? For doing a karma, there should be some fruit that has been enjoyed in order to do the action. For the phala to be enjoyed, some other karma has to be done. This goes on and on endlessly. This is in fact a testimony to the truth that karma is only an illusion in the non-dual reality of Lord. As long as we are in the world, we are bound by karma. But the moment we come out of the shackles of the bondage of karma, karma ends and there is only one thing left which is the ultimate reality of Lord of the nature of eternal bliss. But in order to come out of this bondage of karma, it is essential to know that we are under the control of our actions and it isn’t some supreme being who is controlling and determining it. If we know and understand this, we will not be bound and limited by the surroundings and environment. Instead we will be brave and bold like Nachiketha, Prahlaada, Mahabali etc. to go against everything for the sake of realization of our very nature of Lord.

Karma is that which controls our future. The action that has been done previously is being enjoyed in the form of this birth. By doing good actions now, we will be able to negate what is already in store for our future due to our previous karmas. Karma can be considered as nothing but a bank balance. The more positive it is, the more pleasureful our life will be. If our balance is negative, then it means we have to suffer empirically. A person who has negative balance but still wants to enjoy pleasures should add positive amount in order to negate the negative balance and make it positive. This is done through our current karma or actions. Our current actions add up to making our own future. It is true that the higher the negative karma that we have, the more should be our current effort to negate it. It is for this reason that many of us strive for something in life with all hardwork but still end up not getting it. This doesn’t mean that our fate or future is sealed but it only means that we have more negative in store and therefore our effort wasn’t enough to negate it.

It is for this reason that Mahatmas speak about always doing good karmas. This not only adds up good in the future but also helps in negating the negative balances that we may have accumulated in many births. It is these negative balances that causes trouble and are experienced as obstacles in the spiritual and worldly life. Those are fools who see this obstacles and meekly surrender to them saying that it is fate. The wise will understand that the fate is not sealed but it can be controlled and changed by our current action. Such a wise person will do more and more good activities thereby overcoming the obstacles in the spiritual path.

If somebody is thus forcing an obstacle in our spiritual path, whether it is our parents or our partners or children or relatives or friends, we can always do good actions like chanting, dhyaana etc. to negate the negative balance thereby getting rid of the obstacle. The obstacle might still be present but we will not be affected by it. We will be going forward removing the obstacle with courage and strength. If we are forced into marrying or forced not to learn the scriptures, still we will do japa-dhyaana thereby strengthening our mind and making it strong to resist whoever is causing obstacles for us. Whoever it be, such people will be thrown aside in order for the real seeker to proceed in the spiritual path. Even if this means going to jail or being thrown in the ocean, still the seeker will not tremble but will bravely remember that his fate is in his own hands – moreover such seeker will always remember that there is only the Lord here.

Thus we have to always remember that fate or destiny is not predetermined but it can be changed by our current actions. These discussions of fate or future is valid only for those who lack conviction that the Lord alone exists and thereby are weakened or pressurize or forced by people/surroundings/environment. Such seekers will never realize the ultimate reality of Lord. Those who are brave indeed to set aside everything (if required alone) for the sake of Lord alone will be able to realize their very nature of Lord. Such people who are still seeking the Lord will be bravely facing destiny in order to change it as they want it.

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