Saturday, April 28, 2007

Story 43 - Story of Yayati - 09


We have completed the story of Yayati as found in Srimad Bhagavatham. Let us today summarize the story so that we will be able to remember the main import of the story and implement it in our lives.

We found Yayati like most of the worldly people thinking that sensual pleasure will give us eternal bliss. It is this thought of ignorance which makes people go after worldly objects at all times. The maximum that a person is able to enjoy worldly pleasures is when he is in his youth. Thus we found Yayati craving for youth in order to enjoy sensual pleasures and satisfy himself. But in the end he realized the futility of sensual pleasures and that sensual pleasure will never lead a person to eternal bliss, peace, contentment and satisfaction. Sensual pleasures might seem to give us happiness but the happiness is short-lived and filled with sorrow. The more and more a person enjoys sensual pleasures, the craving only gets more and more. It is like drug addiction where a person thinks of ending his craving for drugs by intake of drugs but finally ends up unable to end up drugs and in utter distress. Thus we found Bhagavatham mentioning that if a person thinks of putting an end to desires by enjoying them, it is as good as trying to extinguish fire by pouring ghee. Even as fire cannot be extinguished by ghee, similarly desires cannot be ended by enjoying them. Desires can be fully eliminated only through the knowledge of unchanging substratum of Lord who is the underlying reality behind the illusory names and forms of the world.

It is only when we consider the temporary entities of the world as real that we crave for pleasures from them. The moment we realize the nature of the world to be temporary like water seen in desert, we will realize the sorrowful nature of the world. Even as a person doesn't put his hand into fire because fire will burn it, similarly a person who has realized the sorrowful nature of the world will never crave for sensual pleasures. Instead of craving of sensual pleasures, such a seeker will be always contemplating on the non-dual reality of Lord who alone exists here.

Once a person realizes the futility of sensual pleasures, he will be always remembering the reality that the world is nothing but an illusion in the non-dual reality of Lord thereby constantly contemplating on his very nature of Lord. This constant contemplation will in turn remove the ignorance of his own nature which is veiled by the wrong notions of "I am body, I am mind etc.". Once a seeker realizes his very nature of blissful Lord, he ever rejoices in the bliss. When a person has realized the Lord and is rejoicing in bliss, there is nothing more to be satisfied in life. Thus such a person is ever content, ever happy, ever satisfied and ever peaceful. This is the one and only way to get eternal bliss seeking which we go after sensual pleasures.

Yayati after enjoying sensual pleasures for thousands of years, finally realized the futility of sensual pleasures and that they will never lead to peace and contentment. After repenting on his mistake of seeking worldly pleasures, he then contemplated on the ultimate reality of Lord thereby realizing his very nature of blissful Lord. Knowledge about the ultimate reality of Lord as the substratum of the illusory world is so strong that it not only helps oneself to get liberated from the bondages of the world but helps others as well to realize. Yayati's gaining of knowledge about the futility of worldly pleasures and blissful nature of the Lord not only helped him in realizing the Lord but helped his wife Devayani as well to realize the ultimate reality of Lord through constant contemplation of the Lord.

The ultimate reality of Lord

Before we enter into the next story of Srimad Bhagavatham, let us again focus ourselves on the ultimate reality of Lord who is the import of all the stories of Bhagavatham.

When we analyze the entities around us, we will come to just two entities alone - one is sentient Consciousness and the second is insentient objects. Vedanta terms as Chit and Jada or Drik and Drishya or Brahman and Naama-roopa. All these are synonyms for sentient entity and insentient sentities.

The sentient entity of Consciousness is not many but one alone. It is one Consciousness that is seen as many sentient beings in the world even as one Sun is reflected in water kept in various pots. The insentient entities are many depending on the various combinations of names and forms that are possible. Consciousness is independent whereas Jada is dependent on Consciousness for its existence. This is clearly known through the anvaya-vyatireka logic or logic of co-existence and co-absence.

Anvaya - If Consciousness is there, the world is there.
Vyatireka - If Consciousness is not there, the world of insentient entities is not there.

Thus Jada or the world in short is dependent on Consciousness. Even as the changing variable is dependent on the constant and hence variable is only an illusion in the constant, the world of names-forms is only an illusion in the reality of Consciousness. Thus Consciousness is real whereas the world is unreal. That which is not real is temporary and hence cannot give us eternal bliss. Eternal bliss is possible only from that entity which is eternal - since Consciousness alone is real, we can get bliss only from Consciousness. The temporary and changing world will only give us sorrow and suffering in the long run. It is dependency, attachment and considering the world to be real the cause of all our sorrows in life. If we understand the temporary nature of the world, we will not depend any more on the world and thereby get rid of sorrows. Once we know the world to be unreal, we will automatically be searching for the real entity which is the substratum of the illusory world. Seeking and realizing the ultimate reality of Consciousness alone will give us eternal bliss - that which we have been and are seeking each and every moment.

It is this Consciousness which is termed in the Upanishads as Brahman and in the puranas as Ishwara, Paramaatman, Lord etc.

Bhagavatham in the beginning itself speaks about this thus:

Vadanthi tat tattvavidhah tattvam yad jnaanam advayam
Brahmethi paramaatmethi bhagavaan ithi shabdhyathe

Knowers of the reality term that reality which is of the nature of non-dual knowledge (Consciousness) as Brahman, Paramatman, Bhagavan etc.

As mentioned earlier, Consciousness cannot be many but is one alone. Thus the various "I" in each one of us that pulsates as "I-exist, I-exist" and gives us the sense of existence and illumination of entities is none other than the ultimate reality of Lord. It is knowledge of our very nature of Consciousness or Lord that leads us to eternal bliss and gets rid of the bondages/sorrows/sufferings in the illusory world. It is this Lord who is the import of all the stories of Bhagavatham. The different stories focus on the reality and shows us as to what to do and what not to do in order to realize our very nature of Lord. If we forget the import of ultimate reality of Lord while learning the stories of Bhagavatham, we will end up in the illusory names and forms.

Forget Consciousness and we will be entering the illusion of names-forms. Any illusion will only lead to sorrow; thus the moment we forget the ultimate reality of Consciousness, we will end up in sorrow causing us to take more and more births; wherein we again and again suffer in the ocean of samsaara. If we want to put an end to all sorrows and sufferings, we have to remember the import of ultimate reality of Lord and constantly contemplate on the truth that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists.

Remembering the ultimate reality of Lord as the import of all the stories of Bhagavatham, we will start the next story from the next day.

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