Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Story 52 – Story of Baana Yudha - Conclusion

As we have come to the end of this story of Baana Yudha, let us see a brief summary of this story today. We find in the beginning of the story as to what would happen due to Ego even if a person is a devotee of the Lord. This brings us to Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri’s book’s title of “walking along the edges of a razor” – spiritual path is like walking along the edges of a razor. Katha Upanishad speaks about the spiritual path as “durgam patah tat kavayo vadanthi” (knowers of the truth speak about the path as a very tough one). It is for this reason that the Lord says in Gita that “Maya is very tough to conquer”.

Each and every minute a seeker has to be focused on the ultimate reality of Lord with the knowledge that the entire world is only an illusion of names and forms in the Lord. The moment a seeker forgets this truth, that very moment he falls into the clutches of Maya which deludes him thereby making him face sorrows in life. Though Baana had devotion to Siva and was close with Siva, yet his arrogance (ego) lead to the entire war. Arrogance arises out of ignorance – if a seeker is remembering that the entire world is filled in and out with Ishwara (who alone is real), then there is no duality perceived in the mind; thereby there is no like and dislike which means there is no scope for ego at all. So ignorance or forgetfulness of the ultimate reality of Lord caused Baana to want a competent and equal enemy.

This lead to Baana’s daughter falling in love with Aniruddha. In order to help Baana’s daughter Usha, her friend kidnaps Aniruddha. Usha enjoys sensual pleasures with Aniruddha only to be caught by her father. Baana then captures Aniruddha which brings Krishna face to face with Baana in a war.

Any war is not good as lot of people die in the war – war doesn’t serve any purpose except for one person to show his supremacy over another person. A true seeker will stay away from duality and always remain focused on the ultimate reality of Lord. War will be fought by such seekers only if dire need arises (as in case of Mahabharatha Yudha, Krishna even went as a dootha to ask just one house to aver the war – when Krishna found that the war couldn’t be stopped at all, then the war started).

A seeker who has entered into war is against the ultimate reality of Lord if he seeks to achieve something out of the war. A true devotee of the Lord doesn’t want anything as he is always focused on the non-dual reality of Lord – for a person who knows that the entire world is Ishwara and thereby is ever blissful, how can desires arise? As Ishavasya Upanishad says, such a seeker will have no delusion or sorrow (and thereby is devoid of desires).

The moment a seeker forgets the ultimate reality of Lord then the seeker faces the might of Maya (the illusory power of the Lord) which is impossible to conquer without devotion to the Lord. The devotion that Baana had initially towards Siva in fact helped him save his own life – we have to remember thus that it is devotion towards the ultimate reality of Lord that can save us from the clutches of Maya and thereby make us ever rejoice in bliss.

Let this story make us remember never to forget the ultimate reality of Lord but always remember the Lord in our minds as the non-dual reality behind the illusory world so that we may ever rejoice in bliss.

An analysis of the Ultimate Reality

We have completed yet another beautiful story of Srimad Bhagavatham. Before we begin the next story, it is essential to focus back on the subject matter of Bhagavatham which is the ultimate reality of Lord (whose nature is Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute). It is often very easy to get distracted from the goal – it is still easier when we are dealing with stories illustrating the traits and miraculous deeds of the Lord. Concepts are tough to understand but they ensure that we don’t get distracted – but since concepts require a sharp intellect, therefore Bhagavatham takes up the task of explaining concepts through stories (which can make us get distracted very easily).

AMMA tells a beautiful story to illustrate this. Once in a pious person’s house, there used to daily morning pooja. There was a cat in the house. The cat would run here and there not letting the person do the pooja. In order to keep the cat busy, the person decided to feed it milk so that he would be able to do pooja without disturbance. The trick worked. His son daily saw the father feeding the cat and doing pooja – the son knew as to why this was being done. This tradition got passed through many generations. But unfortunately the import or reason for this tradition wasn’t passed correctly. After many generations, feeding the cat became part of the pooja (a ritual in the pooja). Then there was no cat in the house; so borrowing of cat from the next house and feeding it milk became part of the pooja.

Not knowing the real purpose of feeding milk to the cat, it became a tradition thereby distracting people from the real purpose (which in this case was keeping the cat busy so that pooja can be done without disturbances). Similarly while listening to the miraculous deeds of the Lord in Bhagavatham, it is very easy to get distracted. We have to always remember that any distraction, even the slightest, can lead to a downfall taking us away from the goal of eternal bliss and immersing us further in the ocean of samsaara characterized by sorrows and sufferings.

The moment a seeker forgets the ultimate reality of Lord, he enters the temporary dual world. The world is temporary and therefore cannot give us anything other than sorrow. This doesn’t mean that a seeker has to renounce the world but it just means that we have to remember the temporary and sorrowful nature of the world all the while remaining focused on the ultimate reality of Lord (the substratum of the illusory world). A seeker who is ever focused on the ultimate reality of Lord will not get sad when the world fails him, he will be ever blissful even if the entire world were to collapse.

Krishna gives this beautiful way out of sorrows:

Brahmani aadhaaya karmaani sangham tyaktvaa karothi yah
Lipyathe na sa paapena padmapatram iva ambhasaa

A person who is performing actions remaining unattached to the action and the fruits thereof by offering those actions unto Ishwara will not be tainted by sins even as the lotus-leaf is not wet by water (the lotus-leaf is in water but not wet).

This is possible if a seeker remains always focused on the ultimate reality of Lord not letting anything else distract him – with the knowledge that the dual world is just an illusion of names and forms in the Lord (existence).

Let us try always not to get distracted from the ultimate reality of Lord so that we may realize the Lord and lead a blissful life in this very birth itself. With this resolution of not forgetting the Lord at any cost, we will start the next story from the next day.

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