Monday, March 17, 2008

Story 48 - Story of Raasa leela – 13


Shuka concludes the Raasa leela story by giving a conclusive explanation regarding what we should be taking and not taking from the activities of various Mahatmas or avataras in the world. But before seeing that (in the next day), we will try to address the third aspect of Parikshit’s question as to why the Lord does dharmic and adharmic activities (Shuka will be explaining this as well but here we will try to analyze just that aspect alone).

Each and every action of the Mahatma is for the benefit of the seekers of the world. Their actions are not tainted by good and bad fruits. They have neither association with the doer nor craving for the fruit of the action – but still they perform actions which are for the welfare of the people of the world alone.

A mother kisses her child, feeds him and plays with him. But when it is required, the mother also scolds the child. If the child is trying to eat mud or play in dirt, then the mother scolds the child. With the respect to the activities of the mother towards her child, the mother has no selfish motives whatsoever. But still the mother does all those activities even though she doesn’t gain anything out of it. And all those activities are to ensure that the child is safe – those are for the welfare of the child.

JWe may now object that our mother takes care of us just because we will take care of them in our old age and hence it isn’t a selfish approach. Yes, this has become true as of today due to lack of knowledge, devotion and pure love. Parents object to their children’s choices & children in turn disrespect the parents. Children are sent to boarding schools and parents are sent to old-age homes. Time has completely changed since the ancient vedic period – when the love between people was pure. The reason it was pure in those times and not pure during now is lack of scriptural knowledge. Scriptural knowledge that everything is pervaded by God will make us love everyone as our own Self – we will not differentiate between ourselves and others. It is the differentiation that causes us to like and dislike people – and then try to figure out as to how “relations will help us”.

But here the example speaks about true love – which can be felt even today when we meet AMMA. Though AMMA is as simple a person and normal person like anybody else in the world, yet her pure love attracts people from all walks, all cultures, all nations, all religions and all beliefs. It is her pure love that attracts people beyond all limitations. Even as a mother loves her child with pure love, the Lord loves his devotees with pure love. It is this love that is responsible for the Lord and Mahatmas to do activities which might seem against dharma but still help us in the spiritual path.

We have already seen as to why the Lord vanished from the midst of gopis and re-appeared – that itself shows that all activities of the Lord are for the welfare of the devotees alone. As the saying goes “mysterious are the ways of God”, similarly we can judge neither the Lord nor his activities. We just need to understand that all activities of the Lord are for the welfare of his devotees (his children that we all are).

If this is the case, then how should we follow the Lord? It is this question about choosing the teachings and instructions of the Lord rather than blindly following his activities that Shuka explains in the next part of Bhagavatham which we will see in the next day.

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.

Shuka concluded:

O King! The words of Mahatmas (Lord and various people who have realized the Lord) are truth; few of their actions can be followed by seekers; a seeker should use his intellect to listen to the words of the Mahatmas with concentration (sraddha) and then follow it in his life as well.

Whatever activity the Lord does, there will not be any tinge of selfishness in it. On the contrary if a selfish person tries to imitate the Lord’s actions then it will only lead to his destruction. The Lord is one who lives knowing that he is the indwelling Self of all beings – therefore for them there is nothing good or bad to be achieved through actions. By abiding in contemplation of the ultimate reality of Consciousness various munis are ever content and do actions by perceiving oneness everywhere. If this is the case with munis, then what to speak about Krishna who is the poorna avatara of the Lord? Krishna is the Lord who is residing in the hearts of gopis and their husbands without any differentiation at all. Krishna is the ultimate reality of Brahman having taken a form for playing (leela).

After raasa leela, the gopis returned back to their home with their mind not agreeing to get away from Krishna.


Bhagavatham is concluding the raasa leela in this part. Most of the words of Shuka are self explanatory. But we will try to discuss two points mentioned – one is as to what a seeker should take from the Mahatmas (to implement in his life) and two about the Mahatmas activities with respect to selfishness.

All activities of the Mahatmas are not tainted by selfishness in any way. Their activities are for the welfare of their devotees and for the entire world. Why is this so? This is because the Mahatmas are self-content people who have realized the underlying reality of Brahman – there is nothing else for them to attain and hence they are content with whatever they have. But still this doesn’t prevent them from doing actions because they are compassionate to help striving seekers and take them beyond the illusory world. Moreover these Mahatmas see oneness everywhere knowing that the entire world is but an illusion in the reality of Lord – since they don’t see any differences, therefore there is no scope for actions (actions are based on differentiation saying that I am different from money, therefore let me earn money through actions). If this is the case with Mahatmas, then we don’t even need to doubt about Krishna as Krishna is the Lord himself. Mahatmas and jeevan mukthas are people who are abiding in contemplation of the Lord whereas Krishna is the Lord himself.

If Krishna is the Lord himself then why take a particular form (avatara)? The Lord takes various forms to play with his creation of the world. This play also helps him liberate people who are in the world. The Lord is always remembering the truth that the world and its people are only illusions – thereby if somebody doesn’t heed to his advice, he still isn’t affected by it. He does activities like the world is a big play in which he the role of savior. This is the case with all saviors whether it be Krishna or Jesus or Buddha or AMMA – they are well aware that it is but a role that they are portraying. It is because of this that they are not affected by people following them or not following them.

The next point that Shuka mentions here is as to how we should follow the Mahatmas. We may not be able to follow the activities of Mahatmas as that would lead to our own destruction (as illustrated in previous day example of Siva drinking kaalakoota poison). Thus we should listen to the instructions that we get from Mahatmas. Their instructions are truth alone – therefore we don’t even need to doubt them. We should listen to the instructions of the Mahatmas with concentration, analyze it with our intellect and then implement it in our life. This way we will be lead to the state of the Mahatmas as their instructions are the door to liberation for each one of us.

Thus instead of blindly imitating the activities of the Mahatmas, we should listen to their instructions with devotion and concentration. Once we surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord with devotion, our intellect with gain immense strength to differentiate as to what is real & what is unreal, what is right & what is wrong etc. With this intellectual strength, we will be able to gain intellectual conviction as to what is to be implemented in life. Finally with the intellectual conviction, the implementation will be automatically performed with perfection in our life. This will then take us to the state of eternal bliss.

If we need to know as to whether the words of Mahatmas are true or not, we just need to compare it with the Vedantic truth of “BRAHMA SATYAM, JAGAN MITHYA, JEEVO BRAHMAIVA NAPARAH” (Brahman or Lord is the ultimate reality, the world of differences is but an illusion in Brahman, the individual Self in each one of us is Brahman alone). All implementations of this truth will have vision of oneness in one way or the other. Thus with this we will be easily able to judge whether the Mahatmas and their words are true or not.

If we follow the instructions of Mahatmas after filtering them through our intellect, we will also be able to rejoice in bliss like the gopis thereby ever be blissful.

We have come to the end of this story of Raasa Leela. We will see a summary of this story in the next day before starting the next story of Srimad Bhagavatham.

Let us listen to the instructions of the Mahatmas with devotion and concentration so that our intellect will be able to get convinced and we will then be able to implement it into action thereby leading us to the state of eternal bliss.

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