The human body is
given for a purpose, not for the enjoyment of wordly
joys. Craving for wordly joys is an animal quality.
Priyavrata was a man who understood these truths. Every
human life has a purpose, a meaning. Recognize the
purpose of your life and achieve it. A life without a
goal is an animal's life, a foolish life.
felt strongly, "Having taken a human birth, it is
improper of me to desire physical comforts."
Priyavrata was the second son of Manu.
Yesterday you understood the nature of Dhruva, the
son of Uttânapâda. Today, grasp the
character of Priyavrata, the younger brother of
pleasures are like dreams. They are ephemeral and unreal.
All dream experiences are non-existent in the waking
state. Similarly, all the joys of this world cannot
confer happiness on the âtmâ.
Recognizing this, Priyavrata sacrificed all
comforts, left his kingdom and departed for the forest.
At what age? At the age of nineteen years. Today, no one
of that age even attempts to sacrifice worldly comforts.
They believe that youth is the time to indulge in
physical pleasures to the full extent. Not so with
Priyavrata. He entered the forest to sanctify his time in
divine contemplation, to dedicate his life to the search
for God. He ceaselessly meditated on God, picturing the
Lord's form in his mind to the exclusion of all other
Students of Ancient India
people are bound in the ideas of 'I' and 'Mine'. Thus,
they invite sorrow and waste their valuable lifetimes.
Man is trapped because he does not recognize the correct
approach to deal with the feelings of 'I' and 'Mine'. He
considers 'I' to be the body and 'Mine' to be his
physical possessions. This misinterpretation leads him
astray. 'I' is the Âtmâ.
'Mine' refers to the body. The correct attitude is: "I
(Âtmâ) must use my possession (body)
for knowing myself. I should dedicate actions to myself
(Âtmâ) and not to my possession
(body)." 'Mine' refers to kshetra
while 'I' is the kshetrajna.
The kshetra is only a tool to know the
kshetrajna. Priyavrata realized that the
body was given to know the Indweller, not to enjoy the
world. This is the difference between the students of
today and students of ancient India.
students set their aspirations on the physical world.
They believe worldly joys to be true and lasting. They
dedicate their time, body and actions to the pursuit of
temporary happiness. But ancient students trusted that
the Âtmâ alone is permanent. They
understood that the body was given to realize the
and exerted their utmost to experience inner bliss after
renouncing external joys. For many years, Priyavrata
ate only roots and tubers, drank only water and
underwent great austerities to secure knowledge of the
Âtmâ. He sat alone in caves and
purified his mind. Purity of the mind is most important
for the vision of the Âtmâ.
causes impurity of the mind? Attachment to worldly
objects through the senses. We should not allow the
senses to follow objects and pleasures. These ephemeral
objects attract man in a variety of ways. Falling prey to
attraction, man is cheated of bliss. Objects are
alluring, no doubt, but they bind and trap. The
seriousness of the bondage is not apparent initially.
Priyavrata realized the supreme importance of sense
control. The same idea was taught by Kapila
when he said:
- Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhakah - Sense
control is the greatest yoga.
- Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam - Yoga is also skill in
action, which sense control bestows.
Nârada Teaches Priyavrata
determined to achieve nothing less than perfection in
yoga. He didn't go home for many years.
Manu went in search of him, pleaded and even
ordered him to return, but without success. "I have no
interest in the kingdom. I don't even know myself. How
can I understand the people and give them satisfaction?
I'm sorry. This task of administration is beyond me",
Priyavrata told Manu flatly. With no alternative, Manu
continued to rule the world.
saw Emperor Manu in the throes of depression and
inquired, "O Emperor! There is no dearth of anything in
your kingdom. Why this dejection?" It was usual for
Nârada to probe into others' affairs to
ensure their welfare! Manu said, "My son Priyavrata does
not agree with me. I want him to rule this kingdom.
Please help me convince him." What other work does
Nârada have, anyway? He went to Priyavrata's cave
and taught him at length: "O foolish boy! God has given
us a body for a task. You can experience divinity by
using the body in worldly duties while keeping the mind
focused on the Lord." Priyavrata asked, "How is that
explained, "Your prime duty is to obey God's command.
God bestowed this body on you for certain duties. Will
God give you a body for no reason? Each individual body
has its responsibility. Each responsibility has a goal.
You are a prince. Your dharma lies in
administering your kingdom. Return home, initiate
projects for public welfare and make your subjects happy.
Redeem your life in this manner.
seen how a farmer controls his bulls by ropes. When he
tugs at the rope tied to the left horn, the bull turns
left. He pulls the rope on the right side to make the
bull turn right. When both ropes are pulled, the bull
moves straight ahead. Similarly, human life is controlled
by the ropes of duty. God pulls these ropes to steer
people along the path of their individual
responsibilities. Thus, performing your duty is obeying
God. Do not stand in the way of God's decisions. Do not
be a traitor to your true Self. Obey the divine
could not disobey Nârada or the Lord. He took
Nârada's teaching to heart and returned to the
kingdom. Manu established both his sons as kings
and retired to the forest of Saunikâranya.
In deference to Nârada and Manu,
Priyavrata ruled the kingdom for a few years. But he
could not continue for long. He felt joyous only in
solitude. He recognized that true spiritual practice is
difficult, if not impossible, in the midst of people,
objects and worldly activities.
Human Attachment versus Divine Attachment
human attachment means less divine attachment. The more
we yield to the attraction of worldly joys, the more our
one-pointedness declines. The root causes of all sorrow
are (1) attraction to worldly objects and (2) attachment
arising from human relationships.
realized that each person has come to this world for
himself, not for anyone else. There is no lasting bond
between people. A traveler reaches an inn. He meets other
travelers there. The next day, each one departs to their
own destination. Scores of birds collect on a tree at
sunset. At dawn, they fly away in their individual
directions. Devotees should not lose focus of why they
are here and where they are headed. Your journey is
eternal - Cultivate eternal qualities, not attachment.
Today we behave like animals by giving too much
importance to the body. We should progress from animal to
human, then from human to divine. For these reasons,
Priyavrata longed for solitude and left his kingdom
succeeded Priyavrata as King. Rushika
was also a seeker of the âtmâ. But he
did not consider it necessary to renounce the kingdom to
perform spiritual effort. He spent his days ruling
efficiently, purifying his mind and performing spiritual
inquiry. He maintained a harmonious balance between
worldly and spiritual duties. Rushika's son was the famed
The Story of Jada Bharata
was truthful and honest. He took excellent care of his
subjects. He performed actions only after thinking of
God. He never did even the smallest action, like drinking
water, without offering it to God. At all times, in all
situations, Bharata never forgot God. It is said that
Bharath (India) is named after him. After many
years as monarch, Bharata handed over the kingdom to his
son and went to Rishikesh
where he built a hermitage for himself. Having severed
all worldly attachments, he passed his days meditating on
Bharata was sitting on the banks of the
Ganga and watching the waves of the river. He
reflected about the ups and downs of the waves being like
the joys and sorrows in life. To him, the waves had
consciousness. He felt that everything in creation had
awareness and was a form of God. While he contemplated in
this manner, he heard a loud roar - the roar of a lion.
Meanwhile, a doe had come there to drink water. She also
heard the roar, panicked and jumped into the river. She
was in the final stages of pregnancy. The fear and
physical stress of the situation caused her baby deer to
be delivered immediately. The doe was swept away in the
river's current but Bharata was able to reach out and
save the baby deer. [S.B.
cleaned the deer, took it back to his hermitage and began
tending it with parental affection. Now all his time was
occupied in attending to this deer. If the deer wasn't in
his sight, it was in his mind. Feeding it milk,
collecting grass for it, cleaning it - he wasted all his
time in such activities. Bharata's attachment for the
deer kept increasing and consequently, thoughts of God
decreased. He thought of the deer constantly. A few years
passed in this manner. When Bharata's death came
unexpectedly, he took his last breath while thinking
fondly of the deer and calling it by name.
Practise Remembrance of God
the inner meaning of this story? Bharata left his
body at a time when he was incapable of entertaining
elevating thoughts. His final thought was about the deer
and so, he was born as a deer in his next life. But he
was able to remember his past life and the needless
attachment. "My mind, which delighted in thoughts of God,
fell prey to attachment for an animal. How foolish! What
a pitiable life I am leading now," he regretted. Such are
the disastrous consequences of uncontrolled
why when Bharathiyas go on pilgrimage to
we find dying people repeating the name of God
continuously. No one can tell if the divine name will
come to one's lips at the final moment. So, these
bedridden people have someone whispering into their ears,
the mantra -
Râma Râma Rameti, Rame Raame Manorame
Sahasra Naama Tattulyam, Râma Naama Varaanane.
to this mantra]
The repetition of the name 'Râma' once is equal
repeating the entire Vishnu Sahasranama (thousand
names of Vishnu).
thought you entertain last, you will achieve that form in
your next birth. The contemplation (smarana) done
during your lifetime becomes your sole ornament
(âbharana) after death. If you remember the
Lord's name throughout your life, it will be easy to
recall it in your last moments.
Some people do not agree.
They say, "If we must practice japa in youth, when
are we to enjoy the world? When I have nothing to do
after retirement, I will begin japa". This is
foolishness. Suppose a man joins the army. If he is given
a gun on his first day and asked to go to battle, he will
be confused! He must undergo rigorous training in a
variety of martial skills. With diligent practice over
many years, he will become a good soldier. For this
reason, Krishna talked about the importance of practice
in the Gîtâ.
is very essential. Even mundane activities like walking,
talking, speaking, reading, writing are based on
practice. We must prepare for death also by constantly
remembering the Lord's Name and Form. Only then is it
possible to recollect Him in our final moments.
Therefore, practice, practice, practice, from a tender
age. This is the main significance of the story of
Rebirth as "Jada" Bharata
After his life as a deer,
Bharata was born as a brahmin. Recalling his past
mistake, he resolved not to cultivate attachment to
anyone. He decided that this would be his repentance,
although his mistake was done unknowingly. So he behaved
like a vegetable. If anyone called him, he did not
respond. Whatever anyone said to him, he didn't pay
attention. People thought he was deaf and dumb, but
Bharata was unmoved.
He stuck to the faith
that he was not the body. Memories of valuable time
wasted in previous births disturbed him to no end. He
left the city and went into the forest. He spent many
years living under trees. Thoughts of God were foremost
in his mind.
In the forest lived a
gang of robbers. The leader of the gang had no children.
Someone advised him that if he sacrificed a human being
to Goddess Kali, he would obtain a son. So the
leader commanded his henchmen to catch a healthy man for
this purpose. The robbers spread out in the forest and
began searching. Jada Bharata was seated under a
tree. The robbers found him and carried him to their
leader. Bharata hadn't had a bath for a long time. He was
dirty. They took him to a river and forcibly bathed him.
They applied sandalwood paste on his body and decorated
him like a sacrificial offering. Bharata was not mindful
of their actions or the reasons for those actions. The
robbers took him to the temple of Kali. They asked
him to sit down and he complied. They lifted a sword to
As the sword was about to
strike, Goddess Kali appeared. She came walking
from the inner enclosure of the temple and slew the
entire gang of thieves. Then the Mother Goddess blessed
Bharata with words of advice: "I am very pleased with
your devotion and perseverance. Continue in this manner,
and establish yourself in the Self. Don't worry what the
world thinks of you. Be unaffected by praise and blame.
Be fearless. Think of the Lord all the time." But Jada
Bharata did not even hear Her! He was engrossed in the
Âtmâ, without interruption. Then
Mother Kali disappeared. Bharata walked out of the
temple, still engrossed in the Âtmâ.
On another occasion,
Rahûguna, King of Sindhu and Sauvîra,
was passing by in a palanquin. Bharata was seated under a
tree. The palanquin-bearers found the palanquin very
heavy and accosted Bharata to lend them a hand. They
dragged him from his spot and placed the palanquin on his
shoulders. Bharata quietly obeyed. But before taking
every step, he would make sure he wasn't stepping on any
insect, since he perceived the âtmâ in every
being. Sarva Bhoota Antaraatma Paramaatma - God is the
Indweller in all beings. This truth was recognized by
Bharata. The feeling of unity - that no being should be
harmed - was steadfast in him. Bharata's caution caused
the palanquin to be slow and jerky. The king got angry,
"Hey, men! Why are you walking so strangely?" The bearers
said, "O King! This new man is responsible", pointing to
The king turned to
Bharata and abused him at length, calling him a "walking
corpse". Then Bharata opened his mouth, "O King! Not only
this body but all bodies are walking corpses. Yes, the
body is walking, but it is only a sava (dead
body). The One making all bodies walk, the only One
alive, is S'iva. Bodies are inert. The inner
consciousness is God." The king heard these words and
commanded the palanquin to be lowered.
actually on his way to see Sage Kapila to learn
about the âtmâ. He stepped down in humility
and said, "Kapila himself has appeared to me
here." He sat with Bharata and clarified his
understanding of the âtmâ. Jada
Bharata taught him Âtmâ Vidya in a
clear, lucid manner. Rahûguna was overwhelmed by
Bharata's teachings and fell at his feet.
- Remnants of Desires
Jada Bharata's wisdom
spread all over India. His main teachings for eradication
of worldly attachments were (1) control of the senses and
(2) ceiling on desires. We should not let desires grow
without limit. Desires alone are responsible for our joy
and sorrow. One who desires is not a devotee. The one who
works with an expectation in mind is not a devotee. You
must work for others, for God.
You may chant the
Vedas morning to night, know all the scripture,
undertake various sâdhanas or perform
yajñas - God will not be achieved by any of
these activities. This was the truth taught by Jada
Bharata. These acts are only for mental satisfaction. How
far is their reach, how permanent is their effect? This
body composed of desires can never achieve God - Bharata
recognized this truth.
An example. A camphor box
has the smell of camphor even after all the camphor is
removed. The body is a container smelling of sensual
pleasures. Even after desires are curbed,
vâsanâs (remnants of desire) exist. As
long as the slightest tinge of desire exists,
vâsanâs will prevail. As long as
vâsanâs exist, one cannot reach God. So,
patiently maintain self-effort with determination till
the final trace of desire is erased. This is
Âtmâ Bodha - Teaching of the
Pray to God for God
Man has not taken birth
to cultivate and satisfy desires. A life based on desires
is narrow. Human life is meant to be as sacred and
infinite as our innate Divinity. Do not pray to God with
desires. "Lord, if I pass this exam, I'll break two
coconuts for You." - Is God short of coconuts? Will He
satisfy your desires in fond anticipation of your
coconuts? People go to Tirupathi and pray, "O
Fulfill my desire and I will give you every hair on my
head." What good is your hair to the Lord? You entertain
rotten desires and hold your rotten hair as ransom! No,
no. This is not true prayer. It is only begging, with
selfishness as the motive.
A servant works hard all
day. But in the evening, he comes to the master and
demands wages. One who demands compensation is an
outsider, a paid servant. The wife and children also work
hard at home. But does the wife demand wages at the end
of the day? No. She is an owner, not a servant. The wife
and children work out of a sense of duty. Those who
realize that their primary duty is to dedicate their
lives to God qualify as "owners".
Therefore, do not pray to
God with desires. You should be able to assert, "I pray
to You for You! I do not want anything else". This truth
was propagated by Jada Bharata. With such sublime
teachings, Bharata succeeded in destroying the false
pride and excessive desire in many kings of his time.
Karma is Inescapable
Why was Bharata able to
teach the kings of his time? Because he had experienced
and overcome these obstacles himself. At one time, he
used to delight in thoughts of God. Then he fell to the
status of an animal. He toiled to regain his original
state of detachment and devotion. Thus, Bharata preached
- Karma cannot be escaped at any time, in any place. Good
for good, bad for bad, you are bound to reap what you
vasamaa, narudaa, karma daata vasamaa?
Ghana paathambulu chadivina kaanee,
Kula devatalanu kolachina kaanee,
Kaaradavulake poyina kaanee,
Kathina tapassule chesina kaanee,
Karma daata vasamaa, narudaa, karma daata
Is it possible to evade
karma, O man, is it possible?
You may have studied all the scriptures,
Pleased your family deities,
Departed into forests,
Performed austere penance,
But, is it possible to evade karma, O man, is it
* * * * * * *
Enni samudramul ninchina kaanee,
Kadavento ra, Neerante ra,
Kaavaalannanu ekkuva raadu ra,
Karma daata vasamaa, narudaa, karma daata
Whether you dip it in a
Or in a mighty ocean,
As is the container, so is the amount of water you
You cannot get more, even if you want.
Is it possible to evade karma, O man, is it
Your experiences and your
destiny are only as grand as the size of your heart. To
gain more peace and bliss, expand your heart. Many
millionaires have become paupers and paupers have become
rich. These are consequences of God's grace, not results
of your desires. Jada Bharata told the kings, "You do not
get joy by desiring it. Joys and sorrows come by
themselves, as they please. They may come alone or even
together! So, increase the size of your heart." Limit
your desires to acquire a pure mind. More desires mean
more pollution of your mind. A dirty mind can never
contemplate on God.
Uplift Yourself by Practise
sâdhana must be directed to achieving God
alone. You must uplift yourself. No one else will do it
for you. Uddhared Âtmanâtmânam
Raise yourself by your own efforts. Consider a guidepost
on the road. It points to Chikballapuram in one
direction, to Belathuru in another direction and so on.
Destinations are indicated, but walking is still
required! And the one who should walk is yourself. In the
same way, reading scriptures and undertaking different
sâdhanas are of no avail till you
contemplate on divinity with a pure heart.
read sacred texts but without faith. A student requested
his teacher, "Guru Ji! I've been reading the Bhagavad
Gîtâ for twenty years. I know all 700
verses by heart. But I haven't acquired any good fruits
from this effort. Please prescribe a mantra by
which I can get results." The teacher exclaimed, "Get
out, you madman! You have been reading the
Gîtâ - instructions of the Lord Himself. You
have no faith in the Lord's words, and you profess faith
in some obscure mantra? If you followed the
Gîtâ sincerely, why would you need a
mantra? What good is a mantra to one who
has no faith in the Lord?" People today also do not
follow teachings. As a result, their mantras,
japa, yajñas, pilgrimages ... all are a
put teachings into practice, the unity of thought, word
and deed must be present. While reciting a mantra,
we must demonstrate its meaning in action. Only then can
we win the fruit of the mantra.
student learnt about the nature of divinity. He heard his
teacher often speaking of the mantra
S'ivoham, which means, "I am S'iva". So he began
reciting it all day. A passer-by was intrigued.
He asked the boy, "Son, where did you learn this
The boy replied, "From a great teacher".
"What does S'ivoham mean?"
"It means - I am S'iva".
"Indeed, you are S'iva. So how is Goddess
Pârvatî related to you?"
"How sinful, how sinful!" the student exclaimed.
boy considered himself S'iva, then
Pârvatî would be his wife, wouldn't
she? However, with faith, the student would have realized
that Pârvatî and all of creation are S'iva as
well! We must recognize that all powers reside within us.
Merely reciting mantras without experiencing their
significance is a waste of time.
you have seen that the descendants of Manu were
seekers of Âtmâ Jñâna.
They attained and delighted in Âtmâ
Jñâna. Not just Manu's family,
but all characters of the Bhâgavatam were
pure. Unfortunately, scholars misinterpret
Bhâgavatam and disparage God. The great
devotees of the Bhâgavatam considered their
bodies as God's property and the Indweller as Divine.
They rightly recognized the body to be like a bulb and
the inherent divinity to be like the current.
Balance Wordly Studies and Âtmâ
students should not pursue education with only worldly
happiness in mind. Students constantly ask, "What job
will this study equip me for? How much will I earn? What
lifestyle could I sustain?" They are busy planning their
future, but not bothering to understand the meaning of
education. They expect to become highly-paid executives
after securing MBA degrees. They think, "I will command a
monthly salary of Rs. 5000, 10000, even 20000." But they
have no motivation to apply their skills towards social
wrong to think, "What can I get from society?" With
proliferation of useless education, security is absent in
Bharath. Why? Because educated people are like thieves,
feeding off society for their costly lifestyles. It is
only uneducate people who are trying to render service to
society as per their capacity. With worldly studies,
pursue Âtmâ Vidya as well. Then you
will find ways to deliver peace and security to society,
thus lending meaning to your life.
I do not
ask that you earn high positions or wealth. Authority
comes and goes. Become ideal men and women - this is what
I desire for you. The characters in the Bhâgavatam
are immortal for their glorious deeds. You heard the
stories of nineteen-year-old Priyavrata and
Dhruva, a mere five-year-old boy! Their virtues
are sung thousands of years after their times. Imagine,
how sacred and pure they must have been, for their names
to be taken with reverence in this Kali
hear of Einstein and Newton - great scientists. They have
come and gone. But where are their names? Einstein is
mentioned in scientific discussions, no doubt. But when
we talk of other subjects, like art, Einstein is nowhere.
However, exalted beings like Dhruva and Jada
Bharata shine constantly in the hearts of young and
old, paupers and millionaires alike.
I do not
say that you should neglect or renounce your studies. No.
But do not consider them as the main purpose of life.
Education without contemplation on God is useless.
Cultivate divine love like these great devotees and make
your lives meaningful. In ancient India, even young boys
had great renunciation. Not just boys, girls were
exemplary also. So, boys and girls, follow the ideals of
Âtmâ Vidya, fulfill your own lives and
set ideal examples to society. Blessing you with this
expectation, I conclude My discourse.
concluded with the bhajan:
"Madhura Madhura Murali Ghana Shyama"
(field) and kshetrajna ("knower of the field")
are terms used in the Bhagavad Gîtâ
XIII - The Yoga of
to represent the body and the indwelling âtmâ,
respectively. Swami explains that a field is symbolic of
sowing and reaping - with the body, man sows good/bad
actions and reaps corresponding results.
Âtmâ: soul, but also:
body, mind, senses.
-'The soul is eternal, does not dwindle, is pure, the
individual, the knower of the field, the original
foundation, the unchanging, self-illumined, actual cause,
pervading all, independent and unmoving. From these
twelve symptoms of the soul is a conscious person
impelled to give up the false conception of 'I' and
'Mine' that originates from the illusion of everything
that belongs to having a body (7.7: 19-20)'.
- The being of God and man,
- Selfremembrance in alignment with Krishna,
- The end of the illusion of I (see ahankâra).
(Ahankâra): false ego derived from being identified
with the body is the seat of fear. In the behavioral
science of psychology often called neurotic, viz,
spiritually ineffective, because of being estranged from
the True Self or self-ideal. Also commonly called simply
ego. One cures from the neurosis of false identification
by restoring the priority of the regulative principles
defining the humanity (vidhi) or, in other words, by
accepting the authority of Krishna and His
Kapila Muni: an incarnation
(avatâra) of Krishna, who appeared in Satya-yuga as
the son of Devahûti and Kardama Muni (see
expounded the sânkya-philosophy; the analysis of
matter and spirit, as a means of cultivating devotional
service to the Lord (see S.B. Canto
3, ch. 24 to 33).
Nârada Muni: a great
devotee of the Lord, who freely moves about in the
spiritual and material world to disseminate the glories
of the Lord (is also considered an avatâra and
named bhagavân). His story is explained in S.B.1.5:
23-31. He was cursed by Daksha for spoiling the youths
with his pleading for the renounced order in S.B. 6.5,
his previous life he explains in S.B.7.15.69-77, the
canto consisting entirely of his instructions.
- First among the devotees, patron of the devotees.
Purely transcendental personality, teacher of
Vyâsadeva, pupil of Brahmâ. Known for his
vinâ (stringed instrument).
- He incited Vyâsadeva to write the
- He is counted among the ten sons of Brahmâ, the
Rishikesh: Holy city on the
banks of the river Ganges.
Kashi: The city of Varanasi,
holy to Hindus.
Jada: dumb, inert,
propensity, one's aptitude, based on one's karma.
Hindrance in one's own conditioning and experience of
possibly also previous lives. Also the actual
consciousness of previous realizations. Thus also
traumas, memories etc.
Venkatesvara: The form of
Lord Vishnu worshipped at the temple of Tirupati in South