Monday, July 30, 2007

Story 46 - Story of Bala Krishna's plays - 06

Let us today analyze on the Maya power of the Lord which deluded none other than Brahma himself. Maya is the illusory power of the Lord which creates the various worlds as well deludes everyone into the world created.

Even as the magician creates an entire world and deludes people, similarly the magician of Brahman or ultimate reality of Lord creates the entire world and deludes everybody into the world.

What is delusion?

Delusion is thinking that the world is real and thereby not able to see beyond the illusory names-forms into the ultimate reality of non-dual Lord. The reality is that the entire world of names and forms is nothing but a mere illusion in the ultimate reality of Lord even as various gold ornaments are mere illusions in the reality of gold. Even as a spider weaves the web out of itself, similarly the ultimate reality of Lord creates the world out of himself. In reality this explanation of considering the creation as real or something which really happened or is happening is only in order for us to understand it. Considering the world as an illusion is very tough to apprehend and understand. But once we compare this with various other analogies, this becomes quite clear that the world is an illusion and thereby ultimately unreal. The waking world is often compared with the dream world where everything is but an illusion in the dreamer. In fact the dream world and objects of the dream world are none other than the dreamer but still while dreaming it seems as if real. Similarly until we are under the delusion of Maya, the waking world will seem to be real but it is as unreal as the dream world.

When a person doesn't realize his very nature of Consciousness, he is deluded into thinking that he is the body-mind-intellect complex. This further makes him think that the objects of the world are real and that he needs them for survival. Though at all times there is a search for happiness and bliss into the natural state of Self, still the person goes out seeking bliss in the external world. Even as a spring out of its natural state is always in a state of tension and restlessness, similarly we all are out of our natural state of Self or Lord and thereby in state of tension. Tension can give us nothing but sorrow alone. Thus each moment in our life we suffer through sorrow from one reason or the other. For some the reason is money; for others it is profession; yet others it is relationship. One way or the other, we suffer in the world. We think that this suffering is due to external problems but as AMMA beautifully says that it is not the external world that has to be changed but our mental attitude. So long as we search the external world seeking solutions, we will not get the solution to our problems as the problem is in the mind and its attitude towards the illusory world. This is what is in short termed as being deluded in Maya.

Maya is nothing but an illusory power which makes us suffer in the ocean of samsaara thereby taking birth and death again and again. The way out of Maya is by realizing that everything that we see is only an illusion in the reality of Lord. Thus we have to see the Lord everywhere and surrender at all times to the ultimate reality of Lord. This alone can save us from the delusion of Maya. If Brahma himself was deluded into Maya, what to speak of normal beings like us? Hence it is very important that we surrender to the Lord remembering that whatever is present is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord alone.

When Brahma was seeing, the various gopas and the calves after wearing golden clothes got converted to one Krishna each. After this each one of this took the form of Vishnu and thereby shone as forms of Satchidananda (Existence, Consciousness and Bliss). Brahma could see each of them as the Paramatman (who is indivisible Consciousness) – this is the vision of the rishis which Brahma was able to see. Brahma became speechless. Brahma repented his mistake and realized the truth behind the entities of the world. He immediately jumped out of his carriage and fell at the feet of Krishna.


As we learnt in the previous day, when the Ego surrenders to the ultimate reality of Lord then the reality behind the illusory world is revealed to the seeker. The seeker then realizes that everything is but the Lord alone. The Lord is of the nature of Sat Chit Ananda or Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.

The Lord exists beyond time and hence he is termed as of the nature of SAT or Existence. Anything that exists cannot exist unless there is something illumining the existence. The only entity in the entire world which can experience its own existence as “I-exist” is Consciousness. If the Lord is not of the nature of Consciousness, then he will not be able to experience his existence or he will cease to exist. Thus the Lord is of the nature of Existence and Consciousness. Since the Lord always exists and is of the nature of Consciousness which is indivisible, eternal and infinite therefore the Lord is also of the nature of bliss. That which is infinite or beyond all limits alone is blissful. Bliss is unlimited happiness. Unlimited happiness arises only when we go beyond all limits. Since the Lord is infinite, therefore he is blissful in nature. Thus the nature of the Lord is Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Since everything apart from the Lord is only relative whereas the Lord is beyond all relations, therefore the Lord is absolute. Thus the Lord is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute.

Such a Lord who is indivisible alone can give us bliss as all other happiness (achieved from limited entities) is limited itself. Limited happiness is momentary or temporary and therefore will lead us finally sorrow. But the Lord is blissful and hence when the Ego surrenders to the Lord, we will get bliss. This is because when the Ego surrenders, the seeker totally merges into the reality of Lord from whom everything has come and in whom everything seems to exist (as everything is but an illusion in the absolute Lord even as all relations are an illusion in the absolute).

This is what see in this part of the story – when the Ego of Brahma surrendered to the Lord (forced to surrender), it merged into the Lord and everything that was seen was nothing but the Lord alone. This is the main essence of this story of Brahma with Krishna that if we don’t surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord first itself we will be forced to surrender by the Lord. It is upto us whether we want to surrender without trouble or we surrender after being forced into defeat and sorrow.

We will see as to what Brahma does after surrendering to the ultimate reality of Lord.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Story 46 - Story of BalaKrishna's plays - 05

Thus when Brahma hid the gopas and the calves, Krishna himself became all of those. How many gopas were there, Krishna became so many gopas. How many calves were there, Krishna became that many calves. There was no difference in the bodies and parts of the gopas and the calves (than the original). Each of the gopas had stick, flute, food-bundle etc. - whatever they originally had, that was there with the Krishna formed gopas also.


The quote of "sarvam Vishnu mayam" (everything is filled with Vishnu) is famous; this was illustrated and shown to be true by Lord Krishna in this part of the story.

This part of the story thus not only shows us the miraculous power of the Lord who controls Maya but it also is symbolic of the truth behind the names and forms of the world. Bhagavatham through this beautiful depiction is telling us that this is the reality that everything that we see is nothing but a name and form of the ultimate reality of Lord. As the various gold ornaments are nothing but mere names and forms of gold - names and forms are illusions and gold alone is the reality - similarly the world of names and forms is only an illusion in the reality of Lord. What really exists in the illusory world is nothing but the non-dual reality of Lord alone. The duality that we see is not real but an illusion in the underlying substratum of non-dual Lord.

It is Maya or the illusory power of the Lord that makes it as if that there is duality here and makes the world seem to be different from the ultimate reality of Lord. It is this Maya with which Krishna created the gopas and calves out of himself. Even as Krishna created the gopas and calves out of himself, the world is created out of the ultimate reality of Lord through the power of Maya.

Since Maya makes the non-dual reality seem as if becoming dual, thereby it is very tough indeed to conquer. If we have to conquer the power of Maya, we have to surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord through constant contemplation of the Lord with the knowledge that there is nothing here but everything is the Lord alone. This attitude of seeing everything as the Lord and thereby surrendering to the Lord is termed as prapatti or surrender in the Gita. It is prapatti that alone can take us out of this delusion of Maya. As magic is very tough to overcome but with the help of the magician we can very easily overcome magic, similarly Maya is very tough to overcome but with the help of the ultimate reality of Lord we can overcome Maya very easily. This is the one and only way to overcome Maya. As long as we don't overcome Maya, we will be deluded by Maya. Being deluded by Maya is the state portrayed by Brahma. We may have gained some little knowledge through scriptural study or by hearsay but this in itself becomes a bondage through cultivation of the Ego. Such a state has no other fruit than being deluded like Brahma thereby doubting the power and existence of the Lord. Brahma in this story not only doubted the power of the Lord but he doubted the Lord to be the ultimate reality of Lord. A person who is deluded in the power of Maya will thus be made to think and believe that the world of duality is real and it is different from the ultimate reality of Lord. The way to get out of this is by surrendering to the Lord through the knowledge that everything is the Lord alone - this is being portrayed beautifully in this part of the story wherein Krishna becomes the gopas and the calves.

Thus a samvatsara passed by with Krishna-turned-gopas and calves spending their life with their respective parents. Brahma was excited to know as to what had happened after his hiding of the gopas and calves. Thus he visited Gokula and was surprised to find everything the same (without any particular change).


Here we find Brahma's ego getting the perfect blow in this story. This is what would happen to each one of us if we are subject to Ego. Ego is something that cannot rise beyond a particular level. Once the Ego rises beyond the admissible limit, then there will be a blow given to it by the Lord himself. As the age-old saying goes "falling from a height causes more pain", since the Ego takes us to a very high level therefore falling down from that level causes a lot of pain. This story is a good lesson for all seekers to keep their Ego under control lest they will end up like Brahma.

Brahma thought that everything would have turned upside down in Gokula but he found to his surprise that no particular change had happened and that things were going as usual.

Each one of us can relate this to one or the other incident in our life when we would have been egoistic and thereby we had got a blow. There is a beautiful symbolism about the four arms of Lord Vishnu and as to the use of each of the entities in the arms. Vishnu holds a lotus, a conch, a mace and a disc in his four arms. The Lotus symbolizes the Self. Vishnu is thus calling out to all seekers to realize their very nature of Self. If we fail to realize the Self, then he blows the conch indicating that we have to focus on the Self. This is a kind of initial warning that we are missing something that is to be done. If we don't heed to the conch of the Lord, then he takes the mace and gives us a blow. This is severe warning that we have to seek the Self else it will be very bad for us. If we still don't heed, then he takes the disc and destroys the Ego.

A disease is curable through medicines when it is in the initial stage. But once it gets to a bit serious stage, it can be removed only through operation. If it becomes more serious, then a serious or major operation alone can remove it. The pain associated with each stage goes on increasing. This is exactly same in the case of Ego as well. It is easily curable with minimal pain if we tackle it in the initial stage by keeping it under control and offer it to the ultimate reality of Lord with the knowledge that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists. If it isn't cured at the initial stage, then the pain associated with removing it through operation is more. It is maximum pain when the Lord removes it by completely annihilating it through the disc. This is like falling down from the 100th floor to the ground floor. This is the pain that is signified here through Brahma being surprised by the state in Gokula.

When the Ego is raised, we expect things to happen as per our Ego. The Ego wants things to happen as it desires and if something is not happening as expected, it becomes sad. This sorrow is not mere sorrow but sorrow associated with pain. Thus through this story of annihilation and destruction of Brahma's Ego, Bhagavatham is pointing out to all seekers that we need to keep the Ego under control by offering it to the ultimate reality of Lord. With proper knowledge that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists comes humility which will automatically keep the Ego in control.

Story 46 - Story of Bala Krishna's plays - 04

Once Krishna along with the gopas and calves were walking and reached the shores of Kalindi river. There they sat and enjoyed time by eating the food kept in bundles. At that time, the calves had wandered into the forest and were lost. The gopas were all worried and afraid. Krishna after consoling them started out searching for the lost calves. At this time, Brahma who was born out of the lotus of the Lord's navel, wanted to test the avatar of Lord as Krishna. Brahma thus went to the forest and due to his attractive power took the gopas as well as the calves to a far off place. Brahma is that magician who through his own will creates the entire world and makes it as if real. Thus Brahma wanted to test the maya power of Krishna.


Though this story of Brahma's ego being defeated by the Lord is well known to us, but there are certain aspects of the story is yet unknown to most of us.

The very first thing we need to know is that our mind or sense organs is like the calves mentioned in this or the other stories of Sri Krishna as a child. The mind or the sense organs aren't different from one another as they are both interdependent. Mind cannot function without the sense organs and the sense organs cannot function with the mind. Mind can be considered the tap through which the thoughts of water flows - the sense organs are the pipe through which the water goes out thereby taking a particular form of the vessel (the vessel or the form indicates sense objects). Thus both the mind and sense organs cannot be without one another. The calves are like the mind and sense organs. One moment they will be stuck at the monitor in front and the very next moment they will be looking at the person sitting in the adjacent cube. One second the mind will be meditating and the very next second it will be contemplating on the beautiful actress shown in the TV. One second the mind will be chanting the names of Vishnu or Goddess and the very next moment it will be contemplating on the talks going on between the women in the house (mother and sister). This is the very nature of the mind - it jumps from one thought to another thereby taking the shape of the object of the particular thought. This is the reason why Swami Vivekananda beautifully described the mind as a drunken monkey - monkey itself jumps from one thought to another - so what to speak about a drunken monkey.

To illustrate the nature of the mind, there is a beautiful story mentioned by Swami Amritaswaroopananda (the senior sanyaasin disciple of AMMA). The story is about a monkey who decided to take vratam (doing meditation all day without eating any food). The monkey once heard a satsang where it was mentioned that vrata is very good for progress in life. Thus the monkey came home and decided to do meditation. It sat and closed its eyes for meditation. Then it thought - what if I don't eat anything and become very tired, hence let me keep some fruits ready in case I become very tired. It kept the fruits in the kitchen and again sat down to meditate. At that time, it thought - what if I become so tired that I can't walk to the next room, therefore it kept the fruits in the same room. It again sat down to meditate but thought - what if I become so tired that I can't reach till the fruits - therefore it kept the fruits on its lap and started meditating. It again thought - what if I become so tired that I can't lift the fruits with my hands - therefore it kept the fruits in its hands. It again thought - what if I become tired that the fruits will not reach my mouth - therefore it kept the fruits in its hand and the hands very near to its mouth. It then thought - anyway I have brought the fruit very near to my mouth, let me eat it. It ate the fruit. After that its stomach felt heavy and then it slept down to sleep.

Thus the monkey never fasted or meditated. This is what is the situation with the sense organs if they are not always focused on the ultimate reality of Lord. What we need to do is nothing but the remembrance of the truth that the Lord alone is resent there as the dual world. Mere remembrance of this truth will make our mind and sense organs always focus on the Lord instead of the illusory world objects. Thus there will not be any fall down from the spiritual path thereby never leading us to sorrows and sufferings which happen when the mind goes extroverted towards the worldly sense objects.

Krishna couldn't find the calves in the forest; when he returned back to the shore, he couldn't find the gopas as well. After some searching and still not being able to find them, Krishna understood immediately understood that it was the play of Brahma. Krishna who creates the entire universe as a leela decided to make the mothers (of the gopas) as well as Brahma happy by making himself as many (and the various gopas and calves).


As we discussed earlier, this story is something which has a deeper import than the external magic of Krishna evident in the story.

It is but natural for a person like Brahma to think of fooling and testing the ultimate reality of Lord in Krishna avataara. Brahma here denotes the ego in each spiritual seeker. Initially when we are starting in the spiritual path as helpless folks whirling in the ocean of samsaara, we are devoted to the Lord always surrendering unto him for help. But once we progress in the spiritual path through various spiritual practices and knowledge, we develop a sense of Ego. This sense of Ego makes us think that we can do without the help of the Lord or the various Mahatmas in the world. It is but foolish to think that the badhha jeevas (bonded jeevas) that we are can get to liberation without the help of Guru or the Mahatmas. Those are but foolish people who after learning a bit of swimming think that they can swim in the ocean and reach the shore without the help of a trainer.

It is very tough indeed to overcome the Ego. When we learn that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists, we tend to think that we can do away without the Lord's grace in the form of Guru or without proper spiritual practices. It is but the Ego that makes the various pundits in the world think that they are realized when they are always bonded in the spiritual world and its activities.

Once Totapuri (who is the Guru of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) was sitting with Ramakrishna nearby to the ritual fire burning in the hall. At that time a person came by and lit his bheedi (a local and smaller version of the cigarette) from the ritual fire. Suddenly Totapuri scolded the guy. At that time Sri Ramakrishna (with innocence) said to Totapuri "O Guru! Isn't the bheedi also Brahman (the Lord)"; then Totapuri realized his mistake.

Totapuri was the advaita Guru of Sri Ramakrishna; he never stayed in a particular place for more than a few days lest he get attached to the place. Such a great saint himself was unable to remember the reality that everything is the Lord alone when a person lit the bheedi from the ritual fire.

If this is the state of Sri Ramakrishna's Guru, what to speak about seekers like us? This story through the state of Brahma and his Ego is thus warning us that we should always be dedicated to devotion towards the Lord with the knowledge that there is nothing here but the Lord alone exists. There is a very famous saying that humility comes with knowledge. A knowledge-able or learned person will be the height of humility. We can see this in all the Mahatmas who though having realized the ultimate reality of Brahman and ever being immersed in Brahman show humility in all their activities in the world.

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