Thursday, November 15, 2007

Story 47 – Story of Destroying Indra’s pride – 14

Indra continued:

You are the father and Guru for the entire world. At times you take different forms (avataaras) in order for the welfare of the world by your own will; then you destroy the Ego and pride of people like me who think they are the Lord of the world. Please forgive the faults of the ajnaani and fault-doer that I am. I offer prostrations again and again to your feet. Destroying my Ego please bless me.


We find Indra fully surrendering to the ultimate reality of Lord in the form of Krishna. We already know the importance of complete surrender which alone is true devotion and can alone lead us to moksha or liberation.

Guru-lineage is something that is considered as having two separate lines. One starts from Narayana coming down through brahma to the current-day Sankaracharyas. The second starts from the great guru of Dakshinamurthy who taught the Sanaka sages. Though this is the lineage, it is widely accepted that Krishna is Jagadguru (Krishnam vande jagadgurum sloka is quite popular). It is also apt and not wrong to consider that Bhagavad Gita is the essence of the Upanishads, churned out important concepts alone from the Upanishads, directed towards intellectual/questioning people and people who are in distress. Gita is also not that tough to learn unlike the Upanishads. For this reason as well it would be apt to call Krishna as Jagadguru since he re-established the essence of the Upanishads in simple and easy terms for the better understanding of seekers.

Indra calling Krishna as the Guru of the world signifies two things: one is that he is none other than the ultimate reality of Brahman manifesting as Narayana and Dakshinamurthy; two is that he propounded the easier and simpler version of the Upanishads which is the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhagavatham anticipating the question of “if everything is the Lord, why avataaras” here is answering it through Indra. In reality any form in the world or the world itself is nothing but the ultimate reality of Lord. But when a person forgets this reality, the Lord takes a particular form in order to remind the person about the reality. This is same as a person who is dreaming sees a dream lion and thereby wakes up. Avataaras have importance only for an ignorant person as for a jnaani everything is the Lord alone; the jnaani knows and experiences nothing but the Lord as his intellect is always with the conviction that the entire world is but names and forms in the reality of Lord. Even as various names and forms of gold are mere illusions in gold, similarly the world which is names and forms of Lord is only an illusion in the Lord. Thus avataaras are present or viewed only by the ignorant person who realizes his ignorance thereby surrendering to that form which is closest to the Lord. Even though electricity is available in many forms and many places, yet we cannot experience it unless we use a bulb or any other electrical equipment. Similarly though the Lord is present everywhere we can only experience his presence in certain places (even as air is available everywhere yet we can rest only with the air under the shade of a tree). Once a person realizes the ultimate reality of Lord, then for him there is nothing but the Lord alone. Indra here denotes a seeker who knows that the Lord alone is present here but not yet realized. It is for this reason as well that Indra asks for the blessings of the Lord without which we cannot get liberation. It would be good to remember that the blessings or grace of the Lord is always there but what is meant here is we becoming capable of apprehending the ever-present grace of the Lord (even as sunlight is always there yet we have to open our doors/windows to let it in). We have to develop devotion and surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord in order to become eligible to get his grace in order to realize him. This is what Indra achieves through words of devotion and surrender.

We will continue with the story in the next day.

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).

Hearing Indra’s words, the Lord laughing heartily spoke with a voice as strong and clear like the clouds (making sound):

O Indra, I obstructed the yaaga in order to bless you only. You forgot ME once you got your position of Indra (ruler of Svarga) thereby becoming egoistic; I did this therefore to make you remember ME at all times without any fail.


Though the Lord’s words have the import of always remembering him, we will discuss today about the position of Indra which lead Indra to forget the Lord and become egoistic.

We generally consider Indra and svarga as something very great and eternal. But this is contrary to how the scriptures speak about svarga. Indra, Brahma etc. are different positions in a particular world. Scriptures also speak about various yagas by doing which we can become Indra. In Hanuman’s astothara shata naamavali, there is a naama which speaks about him as the next Brahma. Hayagreeva while instructing Agastya on Devi’s Mahatmyam through Lalitha Trishathi speaks about a big event wherein different Brahmas, different Vishnus, different Sivas etc. get together. This is for strengthening the view that these various Gods are only positions like President, Prime Minister, MP, MLA etc. that we have. Even as those positions in the world are temporary and is valid only for a certain period of time, similarly these positions of various Gods are also valid only for a certain period of time.

Krishna therefore beautifully explains in the ninth chapter about how a person gets svarga. He says that when we do lot of punya karmas then we gain a huge deposit of punya in the bank of karma. The higher the punya, the higher world we will visit. Similar is the position or status that we will have in that particular world. But this deposit of punya is not eternal. It is like any other bank deposit. When a person enjoys his punya by going to a higher loka and gaining a position, the deposit is being withdrawn. As much is the punya, so long will be the pleasures in the higher world. Once the punyas are completely exhausted by enjoying them, then the person has to return back to the manushya loka or human world. If now the person gains papa by doing bad karmas, then he will go to the below worlds like pataala etc. Once his papas are exhausted then he will again return back to the human world. Thus in the worlds above and below a person will be able to stay only for a limited period of time. If a person is in the above world, he will be enjoying. If he is in the below world, he will be suffering. There is no choice given in both the worlds. But in the human world, we have the choice of choosing our actions. Therefore human birth is considered the greatest of all births – a human being can decide his actions; he can do good activities thereby gaining punya or do bad activities thereby gaining papa. Other than these two activities, there is a third neutral path which alone will lead a person to moksha or liberation. Punya is as bad as papa. A person who is sitting in an ac room in a 5 star hotel with women among other luxuries will never be able to contemplate on the reality of Lord (as he is deluded in worldly possessions). Same is the case with sins as well. Neither of them will lead us to moksha – instead they will only make us crave for more and more sensual pleasures. The third neutral path is when the seeker offers all actions to the Lord. While doing good activities and bad activities, as long as a person is associated with the DOER of EGO he will gain punya or papa. But the moment a person offers all actions unto the Lord, he ceases to be the doer. As long as a person is not the doer, he will not be the enjoyer as well. Thus whether it is good karma or bad karma that he is doing, he will ever be blissful as he is immersed in contemplation of the Lord along with offering all actions to the Lord. Thus Bhagavatham by pointing out that Indra is a particular position in svarga wants us to know that svarga (which we all ardently seek) is also limited; thereby a seeker should seek only the ultimate reality of Lord, remembering that the Lord alone exists and offering all actions unto the Lord. This alone will lead us to go beyond punya and papa thereby being ever blissful. This bliss is what we are seeking but in the external world. Therefore a person who seeks bliss should follow the neutral path of offering all actions to that Lord who alone exists.

We will see as to what the Lord next says in the next day.

Let us all try to follow the neutral path of offering all actions unto the non-dual reality of Lord so that we may realize our own very nature of blissful Lord.

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