Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Story 47 – Story of Destroying Indra’s pride – 13

As a result of Krishna saving Gokula with Govardhana Parvatha, Indra being convinced that Krishna was the ultimate reality of Lord went to Vraja along with Kamadhenu. Being a bit ashamed he approached Krishna and fell at his feet. Renouncing the notion that he was the Lord of the three worlds, Indra praised the Lord even as a Yogi after renouncing the ego immerses into ultimate bliss thereby praising Brahman.


There are two important things that we find in this part of the story. The first is that a person should renounce all ego and praise the ultimate reality of Lord. The second is regarding who is a real Yogi.

We generally consider praising as just chanting the sahasranama or Rudra, speaking about the Lord, quoting slokas about Lord to anyone and everyone etc. But these are not real praises. Real praise is when the seeker surrenders his Ego unto the Lord. Once there is no ego left in the seeker then whatever he will speak, whatever he will do, whatever he will know are nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord. This real praise is possible only when a seeker is ever contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord. Thus real praise is when a person is following the scriptural words of always contemplating on the Lord as the one and only reality behind the illusory world. Such a person who is ever contemplating on the Lord might not even pray externally or speak about the Lord yet internally his mind will be ever immersed in the Lord. We find the great bhaktha-jnaani recommended by the Lord himself in the Mahabharata of Dharmavyaadha who was a butcher yet consider a realized saint. Dharmavyaadha didn’t pray or preach about the Lord like many of the so-called devotees of current day do. Just because a person speaks about the Lord or quotes slokas of the Lord or visits ashrams like Ramakrishna Mission doesn’t make him a real devotee nor does it make it praise of the Lord. Real praise is when the seeker is ever contemplating on the Lord internally whether externally he is enjoying sensual pleasures or singing or preaching. Such a seeker alone is a real devotee of the Lord. Real devotion is not praising externally the Lord but is ever contemplating on the Lord in the mind.

Indra by surrendering the ego unto the Lord thereby became a real devotee. Such a real devotee might or might nor praise the Lord externally. Bhagavatham through mentioning the praises of various devotees just is trying to show the nature of the Lord as seen by devotees so that we as sadhakas can learn from the same to view the Lord in his natural state and form.

The second thing that Bhagavatham mentions regarding a Yogi is very important for seekers. Today we find many saints and sadhus claiming to give Self-realization through various yogic techniques like meditation etc. Therefore we consider a Yogi as one who does the astanga Yoga (of which meditation is a part). If we talk to a person who doesn’t do meditation, we will degrade him as not following the Lord’s words in Gita. All of this confusion is because of various so-called saints propagating the different meditation techniques like ART OF LIVING, KRIYA YOGA etc. This doesn’t mean that personally I am against those saints and their techniques. But as per the scriptures, astanga yoga or meditation as propounded by these saints will not lead us realization. Also the definition of Yogi as one who has done dhyaana, samaadhi and has siddhis is against the scriptures. Krishna in the Gita clearly mentions a Yogi as one who has known the reality that the Self has become everything thereby seeing the Self in all and all in the Self. It is the same thing that Bhagavatham also says here by telling that a Yogi is one who is immersed in bliss because of contemplation or focus on Brahman. What these saints are doing is falsely propounding the meaning of the word YOGA which is contrary to the scriptural view. Unless we understand this, we will end up doing one or the other type of meditation thereby ending up in total distress. We will end up distress by doing and focusing on such techniques because they will never give us moksha or eternal bliss. As long as we do the technique, we will be happy. The moment we are in the world and are unable to do the technique, we will become sad. Thus the techniques will end us up in despair when we leave the body – instead of having helped us in becoming real yogis, they make us desire more and more thereby getting immersed in the ocean of samsaara.

We should thereby remember the Lord’s beautiful definition of Yoga as below:

Siddhyasidhyoh samo bhootvaa samatvam yoga uchyathe

He who maintains equanimity in good and bad times, he is a yogi; equanimity of the mind is called YOGA. Such a Yoga is possible only when always remembering the ultimate reality of Lord as the substratum behind the illusory world.

Let us all try to be real Yogis by always contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord as the substratum of the illusory world whether we follow a particular saint or do certain techniques so that such a contemplation of the Lord will thereby lead us to eternal bliss and peace.

Indra praised Krishna thus:

Your very nature is that of Existence and Consciousness; you are without any movement; not having anything else to know is your experience; your nature is that place wherein the gunas of Rajas and Tamas have completely vanished; the duality caused out of gunas is a mere illusion; being of the nature of Consciousness, you don’t have any relation whatsoever with the objects created out of the sense organs.


We have learnt in many stories the same qualities of the ultimate reality of Lord when any of the devotees of the Lord praise the Lord. These praises are only ways to show us the very nature of Lord. These thereby serve not to make us deviate from the ultimate reality of Lord into the stories and the miracles in them.

Though we have discussed the nature of the Lord, it is useful to discuss it again and again. Vyaasa summarizes this approach of Vedanta through the sutra “aavrittih asakrit upadesaat” – repetition again and again is required as that is how Vedanta instructs. This is helpful in emphasizing the nature of Lord as against the illusory, changing and temporary world. Even as a child in school will by-heart things by repeating again and again (many of us would remember repeating the calculation tables of 2 * 1 = 2, 2 * 2 = 4 etc. while we were children), Vedanta considers sadhakas as children learning about the ultimate reality of Lord. Even as a person who has graduated yet would be a child with respect to the physics as propounded by Stephen Hawkings, similarly we are all children with respect to the subtle philosophy propounded by Vedanta. As long as we don’t realize the ultimate reality of Lord, we will still be children with respect to Vedanta. It is for this reason that a Guru considers the disciple as a child for a mother. The emphasizing of Lord Krishna in Gita to take care of all the welfare of his devotees is also a clear indication that we, sadhakas, are children with respect to the Lord and philosophies about the Lord. Thus Vedanta strives to teach the children who we are about the ultimate reality of Lord through constant repetition. This can be easily understood by comparing with how a mother makes her child eat food. The child refuses to eat as it wants to play. The mother thereby takes the child outside, shows him the moon, and explains stories all the while giving food (one handful of food) to the child. The child gets attracted into the stories and thereby doesn’t even know that the mother is making it eat food. Unlike the case of eating, we cannot afford to forget the ultimate reality of Lord thereby getting distracted into the miracles. Therefore Bhagavatham ensures that in all the stories, the nature of the Lord is emphasized at the beginning and at the end.

Now let’s see in brief the nature of Lord as praised by Indra. The ultimate reality of Lord is propounded in scriptures as of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss (Sat, Chit, Ananda). The Lord is of the nature of Existence because he is ever-present else he would become unreal. Any entity to be existent should be illumined by some light. We find the objects of the world as existing because of the sunlight or other light. But all lights are illumined by Consciousness as Consciousness is the only light capable of experiencing its own existence. This is the reason why even in a dark room when there is no light we still experience ourselves as existing and nobody doubts the same. Thus the ultimate reality of Lord to be of the nature of Existence should also be of the nature of Consciousness. The Lord also has to be perfect in all aspects as he is ever-present. That which is temporary is limited by time, space and causation (the world and objects of the world are subjected to these three limitations). Since the ultimate reality of Lord is real, he has to be unlimited and perfect in all aspects. That which is perfect or poorna has to be blissful. The entities of the world are endowed with temporary happiness as their very life itself is temporary. But since the Lord is permanent therefore the happiness in the Lord is also permanent. Permanent or ever-lasting happiness is termed as bliss or ananda. Thus the Lord is of the nature of Bliss as well.

That which is unlimited in space cannot move. Movement is with respect to space. That which is limited can move in space. Therefore we find ourselves always moving in space. But the Lord is unlimited and hence he is all-pervasive; therefore he is without any movement or nischalam. The Lord is all-pervasive because he is the cause and substratum in which the illusory world is seen. The cause of mud is pervasive in the effect of pot. We know that mud pervades the pot. Thus any cause is pervasive with respect to its effect. Since the world is an effect of the cause of the ultimate reality of Lord therefore the Lord is all-pervasive in the world. Since the Lord is all-pervasive, he is without any movement.

Since the Lord is unlimited therefore he is non-dual in nature. We can never have two entities which are unlimited because they will be mutually relative; causing one of them to limit the other. Thus the Lord is non-dual or the only one really existing (the world being an illusion in the Lord is not existent at the ultimate viewpoint). Since the Lord alone is present, he cannot know anything else as there is nothing else to know. Therefore when a person realizes his very nature of Lord, he will have nothing else to know – knowledge culminates in realization or moksha.

Since the Lord alone exists ultimately, the world is only an illusion in the Lord. The world is composed of the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva denotes calmness, rajas denotes activity and tamas denotes dullness. The Lord comes very near to Sattva as it is that state wherein there is only knowledge and peace. Therefore rajas and tamas are completely non-existent in the Lord. Since the world made up of the three gunas is an illusory creation in the non-dual Lord, therefore the Lord doesn’t have any relation to the world. This is like a magician not having any relation with his magic as the magic itself is unreal. We can empirically say that the relation between the magician and his magic is that of cause and effect. But ultimately there is no relation whatsoever as the magician is real whereas his magic is unreal. Similarly empirically we can say that the relation between the Lord and the world is that of cause and effect (or that the Lord is the substratum of the illusory world) but ultimately there is no relation whatsoever as the Lord is real whereas the world is unreal.

Thus Bhagavatham in this part has beautifully condensed the concepts of Vedanta about the ultimate reality of Lord. It would be good for each one of us to remember this at all times so that we seek the goal of the Lord remembering his nature thereby finally realizing our own very nature of blissful Lord.

Let us try to seek the Lord by knowing his nature so that we may realize the Lord and rejoice in bliss which is the very nature of Lord (as it is bliss that we are seeking each and every moment of our life).

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