Monday, March 17, 2008

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela – 12

Shuka answered thus to Parikshit:

O King! The Lord (and his various avataras) at times might do things against dharma and which are very bold. But they are not affected by it even as fire isn’t affected though it consumes everything (both good and good). Even as fire is untainted by the impurities consumed by it, similarly the Lord isn’t tainted by the adharmic activities performed by him.


While analyzing and explaining about the Lord’s activities with the gopis, there are three different aspects to be explained.

1. Explaining whether it is dharma or adharma which means whether the activities affect/taint the Lord
2. whether we can copy the same (or justify our such adharmic activities by quoting the Lord)
3. why did the Lord perform such activities even though he is the role-model as well as executioner of dharma to perfection in the world

It is these three aspects that Bhagavatham would be explaining through Shuka’s words. The first aspect of whether it is dharma or adharma is what we dealt the previous day – we saw as to how dharma and adharma depends from person to person & ultimately remembrance of the Lord is dharma and forgetting the Lord is adharma irrespective of the activity we do. Now as to whether such adharmic activity affects or taints the Lord is being explained in this part (and first by Shuka).

Shuka gives a beautiful analogy to explain whether such activities taint the Lord or not. We use fire to burn anything. Though we may put good things as well as bad things, nothing ever taints fire. Fire purifies everything that it comes in contact with by burning them into ashes. As fire which comes in contact with things doesn’t get affected by the impurities, similarly the Lord doesn’t get affected by activities though they may be dharmic or adharmic.

This is because the Lord remains a mere witness to all activities with the knowledge that the objects of the world as well as the activities in the world are mere illusions in the reality of Consciousness. It is for this reason that even when he was praised or abused or his entire clan died, Krishna was ever blissful. This is possible only when a person remains a mere witness to activities around him. Since the Lord is a mere witness to all activities the activities doesn’t affect or taint him.

Seeing this from a different perspective, a person who does an action alone will enjoy the fruits of the action (be affected by the reaction). This means that a doer alone will be the enjoyer. The Lord does all actions by knowing that the Ego is the doer and he is a mere witness to the activities of the Ego. Since the Lord isn’t the doer he isn’t the enjoyer as well – thereby remaining unaffected and untainted by activities and their fruits.

The Lord through his witness-hood is thereby instructing each one of us to realize our true nature of witness Self (distinct from the doer Ego). If we are able to be a witness to all activities, then we will also not be tainted or affected by the activities (like the Lord). It is this state of being a sakshi or witness to all activities that Vedanta terms as moksha or jeevan mukthi (the state wherein a person is ever blissful irrespective of the situation or surrounding or environment).

We will continue the next day when Shuka answers the second aspect.

Let us all try to be mere witness to all activities like the Lord (always remembering our nature of witness Self or Consciousness) so that we may also be unaffected and untainted by activities whether they are dharmic or adharmic.

Shuka continued:

Considering that the Lord might do adharmic activities yet be unaffected by it, a normal person (who isn’t the Lord) shouldn’t do such things even mentally. If it is done in utter ignorance then it will lead to total destruction of the person. The state of the person would be similar to the state of a person who decides to drink poison as Siva drank Kaalakoota poison.


We discussed in the previous day that there are three aspects to be dealt in Parikshit’s question & analysis of raasa leela played by the Lord. The three aspects are:

1. What is really dharma and adharma? Will the Lord not be affected by adharmic activities?
2. Can we follow the Lord by doing adharmic activities (still maintaining that we will also be unaffected)?
3. What is the purpose of the Lord doing such adharmic activities as he is the upholder of dharma and a role model for the people of the world?

We saw the explanation to the first aspect in the previous day through the beautiful analogy of fire burning everything yet remaining untainted – similarly though the Lord might at times do such adharmic activities, he will be unaffected and untainted by the activities.

If this is the case, can we also follow the Lord by doing adharmic activities? It is this second aspect that Shuka explains here beautifully.

Krishna speaks about the Lord and jeevan mukthas being role model for normal people thus:

Yat yat aacharathi srestah tad tad eva itharo janaah
Sa yat pramaanam kuruthe lokah tat anuvarthathe

Whatever a great person does, all others follow it. His rules become general rules for people.

Hence though the Lord is not bound by actions at any point of time, he will not do adharmic activities (activities that are generally adharmic in nature meaning that generally take us away from the Lord and his contemplation). It is taking into consideration that adharma is forgetting the Lord that adharmic activities like drinking, smoking, adultery etc. have been prohibited and dharmic activities like going to temple, visiting Mahatmas etc. have been prescribed. But it is a sad situation today that all the dharmic activities instead of taking us to the Lord is taking us away from the Lord.

Just because the Lord is ever free and thereby breaks away from dharmic activities, we should not take it as a message for each one of us to escape from dharmic activities. Even mentally also we should not enter into adharmic activities. If mentally we commit adultery it means that our mind will become impure thereby unable to contemplate on the reality of Lord.

Shuka here gives a beautiful analogy to explain this point that we should never enter into adharmic activities though the Lord does it at times. Siva drank the kaalakoota poison but lived. If we think we should follow the Lord and thereby drink poision, we will only die. Thus activities done by the Lord and his avataras are not meant to be practiced by normal people. We should always try to do activities prescribed by the scriptures and the Lord (of always doing activities which help us in remembering the Lord – and not going behind worldly miraculous activities of the Lord).

AMMA gives a story to illustrate this point. Once there was a Guru who used to daily have bath in boiling oil. The burning oil never afflicted his body even little. Seeing this, one of his disciples wanted to follow what the Guru does. Thereby he poured the boiling oil over his body and his entire body was burnt! Thus we should never try to do things that the Lord does – but only what the Lord instructs us to do.

It used to often happen that during darshan (while AMMA embraces people) AMMA used to vomit, have headache, neck pain etc. though there will nothing faulty with her body. This used to happen quite often and hence Venu (now Swami Pranavaamritananda Puri – one of AMMA’s senior sanyaasi disciples) asked AMMA about it. AMMA replied saying that she is taking the pain of her devotees who are surrendering themselves completely to her. Hearing this Venu asked AMMA as why she is not sharing it with them. AMMA replied that they will not be able to bear the pain. Venu laughed and said that he is strong to take some body pain. AMMA again replied that he will not be able to bear it. But Venu wouldn’t agree. Hence AMMA said “here take some pain”. Immediately Venu started vomiting. He couldn’t withstand the pain and within 2 minutes he cried to AMMA to take it back. AMMA laughed and took it back from him.

This incident also clearly shows us that Mahatmas might do activities which are not normal or dharmic but we should never try to implement it in life – we will be the loser if we try to do it (will get destroyed completely). Hence we should only try to implement the instructions that we get from these Mahatmas (which all boils down to constant contemplation of the Lord and doing our daily normal activities as an offering to the Lord with the knowledge that the Lord alone is present here as the substratum of the illusory world).

If this is the case, then why did the Lord do such adharmic activities? What is the purpose of the Lord to occasionally stray from dharma (when most of the time he sticks to dharma)? We will see this third aspect of Parikshit’s question in the next. It would be good to remember that the Lord, Mahatmas and jeevan mukthas all are the sameJ (any person who has realized Brahman as his own nature of Consciousness). We don’t need to differentiate and say that the Lord is different from Sankara; the Lord is different from AMMA etc.

Let us try to remember as to not to follow the activities of the Mahatmas blindly as it will only lead us to our destruction; instead we should follow the words of the scriptures and the Mahatmas which will in turn lead us to eternal bliss through constant contemplation of the Lord.

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