Everyone strives to
acquire happiness and to remove misery, but is
unsuccessful. Creation is vast and endless. Man is just a
tiny part of the Cosmos and therefore, should lead his
life in keeping with the welfare of all. Instead, man
believes that Creation is meant for his own enjoyment,
and exploits it. Just as a child draws milk from its
mother and a bee draws nectar from a flower, man can also
draw necessary resources from Nature.
The Importance of Limits
These days we see nature
revolting by way of disasters because man ignores all
limits in exploiting its resources. Torrential rain,
drought, earthquakes, floods - such are the repercussions
of man's greed. On account of scientific progress,
scientists have grown selfish without regard for the
world's welfare. They provoke nature to
Durlabho Maanusha Janmah: A human birth is
difficult to acquire.
Jantoonaam Nara Janma Durlabham: A human birth is
rarest among all beings. The Purânas teach
that among the 8.400.000 species of beings in the world,
humans are the most evolved. When we ponder over these
scriptural statements, we realize how pure, valuable and
sacred human life is. Today we have forgotten that a
human birth is priceless, potentially Divine and full of
Bliss. Thus we invite sorrow upon ourselves.
For happiness and sorrow,
your behavior alone is responsible, not anyone else.
People are unable to believe this fact. With pure
conduct, you can acquire all the happiness and comfort
you desire. Your desires also must be within limits if
you want peace of mind. Men are going mad since they do
not limit unreasonable desires.
The Story of Tris'anku ['afraid of the
In the Candravams'a
there was an emperor called Tris'anku. He was a great
King in every way. He was truthful, an embodiment of
dharma, and he treated his subjects as if they were his
own children. His heart was full of compassion. In spite
of his excellent qualities, Tris'anku could not limit one
peculiar desire that found a way into his heart: He
yearned to dwell in heaven in his physical body. To this
end, Tris'anku went to his family guru, sage
Vasishthha. He said: "Respected Guru, please help
me achieve this desire and bring fulfillment into my
life". Vasishthha remarked, "Shame on you! Your
desire is unnatural. This body is dirty. It is the home
of mucus, waste matter, and disease. To take this
ephemeral body to the heavenly realms is like dragging a
corpse along with you. People earn heaven after good
actions and yajñas done over many
lifetimes. It is impossible to take the physical body
there. It is against God's rules for creation to even
attempt it. This thought is not worthy of you. I cannot
help you. If you are adamant, you may approach another
home dejected. After some time he journeyed northward. He
went to meet the bright, austere, powerful and highly
esteemed sons of Vasishthha. The sons of
Vasishthha had surpassed even their father! No one
was greater than them in wisdom, fame, and austerity.
Tris'anku told them his problem as well as
Vasishthha 's words. They said, Tris'anku! Our
father is your personal guru and the guru of your
dynasty. By coming to us, you have disobeyed him,
insulted him. Why would we overrule our father? Do you
want us to go against our father like you did? There is
no place among us for a disciple who doesn't value his
guru's words. Go away!"
had nowhere to go. So he went to Kausika.
This Kausika was also a King originally. But his kingly
pride took a fall when he opposed Vasishthha 's
spiritual power. So, at that time, he was engaged in
arduous penance for spiritual powers. Kausika decided to
satisfy Tris'anku at any cost, only because
Vasishthha had refused to do so. Why? Kausika
hated and envied Vasishthha intensely.
Vasishthha was a Brahmarishi
while he was only a Rajarishi.
[the picture at the left side of this text
depicts sage Kausika or Vis'vâmitra
had exerted tremendously to achieve the status of a
Brahmarishi, but had failed till then. What was
the reason? His hatred, anger, and jealousy prevented
him from advancing beyond the stage of
Rajarishi. One who harbors anger and jealousy
can never prosper. He can never achieve his goals.
There is no enemy greater than anger. There is no
disease greater than envy. There is a medicine for
every disease but none for jealousy. And Tris'anku
sought help from Kausika, in whom so many bad
qualities were present.
Kausika assured him, "I
will send you to heaven in your physical body without
fail!" He began planning a yajña and
summoned many ritviks.
None of them approved of this yajña, but
they still came, fearing Kausika's wrath. Kausika was
anger personified. The ritviks did not want to be burnt
in the fire of his anger. They told themselves, "Let us
just go there quietly and do our job."
to send Tris'anku to heaven began. No
were seen approaching to accept the offerings of the
yajña. Kausika understood that the Devas
disapproved of Tris'anku's motive. He decided to send
Tris'anku to heaven solely by the power of his penance.
He poured all his spiritual powers into a wooden staff.
Then, holding the staff aloft, he announced,"Tris'anku! I
command you to ascend to heaven." Tris'anku began rising
in the air and soon, he went out of sight. Everyone was
speechless at this incredible event. After
they heard shouts, "Guruji! Guruji!" When
up, they saw Tris'anku falling down shouting,
Indra (King of the
Heavend) did not permit me to enter heaven. What should I
Kausika was incensed at
the audacity of the Devas
had refused admission
to his supplicant. He said, "You
don't come down." With Tris'anku as the central
creating a second universe by the strength of
power! He created a new sun, moon, planets,
heaven, and so on.
But the Devas looked upon these
as artificial and
The Story of S'unahs'epha
While Tris'anku was in
that state, his son Haris'candra
ruled the kingdom.
This was not Satya Haris'candra, who
for his truthfulness! His name was Haris'candra,
Haris'candra prayed to Lord Varuna (the demigod
ruling the waters) for a son. He
promised that he
would surrender the son to Varuna soon
he was born. Varuna
heard his prayer and a son was born in
months. The son was named Rohita ['to the
blood']. Haris'candra could
not bring himself to
give Rohita away to Varuna. He reneged
promise. Rohita came to know of his father's
mistake. He thought, "I wonder what calamities might
beset me in this
kingdom," and ran
away to the forest. He spent many
subsisting on roots and tubers.
as a consequence of
breaking his promise, Haris'candra
was afflicted with a
What is the
inner meaning of these stories? The
a desire that went against the laws of
Haris'candra, did not keep his word. These
are told to
illustrate the sorrow that ensues from these two
word and going against the divine
distinction, must necessarily follow
disciplines of nature. No one has the authority
rules, which represent the divine law. To
such laws is to
invite great calamity. This is an
teaching of the
Rohita came to know of
his father's disease. He attempted
to return home many
times. But Indra appeared
and dissuaded him every time. Rohita considered
responsible for his
father's condition. He
searched for a
solution to this dilemma. He thought about
promise to Varuna - One living being had to be offered to
Varuna in a yajña.
The father can
have love for his sons, no doubt. But
should be within
limits. It should be neither excessive like
deficient like Hiranyakas'ipu's
Years roll by and
old age arrives, but man's attachment
grows and grows!
This is the reason why today's man
Attachment and possessiveness alone are
Attachment must have limits.
forgets his divine nature, behaves like an animal and
loses respect in society.
Rohita resolved to return
and put an end to his father's
suffering. On the
way, he met a couple and their three
Rohita told them, "I
will give you untold wealth and cows
in exchange for one of your sons. I need a boy for a
Will you give me your
oldest son?" The man said, "I love
son immensely. I cannot live without him." Rohita
"How about your
youngest son, then?" The wife
"He is the darling of
my heart. I cannot part with him."
The middle son was
not as much loved as the other two.
said, "You can have our second son." The second son told
himself, "How unfortunate I am! I
worthy of my parents' affection. It is
to offer my life in a yajña than to live such a
went with Rohita of
his own volition. This boy was
They walked for a
long distance and felt tired. They
but could see no human habitation nearby. They
a hermitage at a
distance and ran into it. The
was the abode of the
noble Sage Vis'vâmitra.
his heart to Vis'vâmitra. "O
Sage! This is my
pitiable situation. Please protect me
and make me your
disciple," he pleaded. Vis'vâmitra
him, "Don't worry, I
will definitely save you." Immediately
for his three sons and instructed, "One of you must
to go to the
yajña instead of this boy. Haris'candra is
a yajña in
which one being must be offered to Varuna."
Idam Sareeram -
Our bodies are meant to
be of service to
others. We must be ever ready to give our
burst out laughing.
"Father, you are
ready to sacrifice your own sons for the
some unknown boy? Is this what you are supposed to
us?" None of them
agreed to renounce his life. Then
near and said, "Son, two mantras are
for this yajña
to be completed. I will teach them to
Recite them in the yajña."
S'unahs'epha learnt the
two mantras by heart and proceeded
Haris'candra's yajña began.
felt guilty that he
was ready to sacrifice someone else's son
He recognized his acute selfishness. Rohita also
feelings of guilt. But he could not go
his father's order
for S'unahs'epha to be sacrificed.
As the yajña
neared conclusion, S'unahs'epha recited
loudly. In that peaceful atmosphere, those
surroundings. Varuna noticed the brilliance of
and descended to the site Himself. Varuna
promised me something and did
else. Your disease is
nothing but the fruit of this sinful act.
word must be upheld. No one is exempt from this
Even at the cost of
one's life, do not go back on your
Satyam Naasti Paro Dharmah - There is no
truth. This whole universe has emerged
and it merges into satya ultimately. There is no
in the world without
Truth. Instead of protecting and
Truth, you opposed it
and invited misery. However,
your son Rohita
prayed that S'unahs'epha should be saved at any cost.
Yielding to Rohita's
and pure feelings, I
have come Myself."
Paying money to buy someone else's
sacrifice him? This is a great sin. The parents also
the son by yielding
We must realize
the inner meaning here. Who was
root cause of all
this suffering? It was Tris'anku. He
natural law. He wanted a second creation to
made just for
himself! This is against the will of God.
appeared in his son to a certain extent. One who
God's will cannot
survive in this world. To disobey the will of God is
bhagavat-droham and guru-droham,
towards God and
guru. Tris'anku suffered because he was a
to God and to his
guru. One should be ever obedient
one's father also.
Devotion and obedience to God, father,
guru: these are
the hallmarks of Indian Culture. Tris'anku
disregarded the sanctity of these three
The Story of Kausika
Tris'anku was only a
king. But look at the Sage
He had immense wisdom
and tremendous penance to his
Yet, he stooped to
the level of helping Tris'anku in his
desire. Kausika would
not have helped Tris'anku under
but his hatred for Vasishthha made
that step. Hatred clouds discrimination. What is the use
penance, yajñas and many kinds of
was a master of all
scriptures, possessed boundless
power and was an
embodiment of dharma. But he allowed hatred into
his heart and laid all these virtues to waste. He
a task that even
ordinary people would have recognized as
For this reason Kausika's
respect gradually diminished.
Only his penance and
powers sustained his waning reputation. Kausika's penance
had jealousy as its foundation. He was
Vasishthha had earned the title of
his penance, Kausika
could not curb his anger. Even
appeared to him and honored him with the title of
his anger did not
subside. Brahmâ knew that
was full of
rajo-guna (the mode of passion) and hence,
gave him the title of
One with rajas
is a Rajarishi. The one who recognizes the
of Brahman and
acts according to the prompting of
is a Brahmarishi.
Kausika was originally a
king. Many, many years ago,
he went to the forest
for a hunt (see S.B.
9.15: 23). He was
exhausted after a full
day of hunting. He
came across a hermitage - Sage
hermitage. He paid
his respects to Vasishthha. Enthralled by
and natural beauty of the hermitage, Kausika
with Vasishthha. After some time, he requested
Vasishthha's permission to return to his city.
said, "You are the
emperor of this land. Under your rule,
are able to live peacefully in the forest. Through
policies, you are ever attentive to the
and care of sages. It
is our duty to honor our King as a
guest. You must
accept my hospitality."
Kausika said humbly,
"Swami! I am not here alone.
Thousands of soldiers
are with me. If you give me a glass
or milk, that is sufficient. Please don't trouble
Vasishthha said, "O
King! There is no dearth of anything in
Where God's grace showers, all-round
follows. I am capable
of providing hospitality to any
of your soldiers."
Kausika was surprised. He wondered,
this sage planning to provide my entire army with
rose and he thought, "Let me test
He agreed to Vasishthha's request.
Vasishthha called out
lovingly, "Sabali, Sabali!" A
there. Vasishthha told the cow, "Look here, Sabali.
is our guest today. Please arrange for his comfort and
his soldiers." In the twinkling of an eye, everything
Sabali was a
kâmadhenu, a wish-fulfilling cow
by Lord Brahmâ.
There was food even for Kausika's
and horses, what to
talk of his soldiers and himself!
was an emperor. But
even his royal kitchens had never
such delicious food.
Arrogance and greed entered
heart. He thought,
"This miraculous cow must reside
with a King, not with
a recluse in a forest."
Kausika finished eating.
Then he told Vasishthha, "O
Sage! I have a small
request. Please give me Sabali."
said, "That is
impossible. Sabali is meant to be with me."
tried to convince him
in many ways but Vasishthha
Kausika lost his patience, turned to his
and said, "Drag this
cow to our city." The soldiers began
Sabali away and she
cried out to Vasishthha, "Guruji!
What fault have I
done? Why do you let them drag me away?"
Vasishthha told her,
"Here is a king who is proud of
and intellectual strength, but he has no strength of
How can I reason with
a king devoid of virtue?" He tried
advising Kausika, but
to no avail. Now, Kausika's army
of hundreds of
thousands of soldiers. Who could
a force? Knowing Sabali's strength, Vasishthha told her,
you to deal with them as you wish."
All of a sudden, Sabali
created a divine army of millions
out of nowhere, which
fell upon Kausika's army.
men were annihilated
in a matter of minutes. Not a single
survived. Even the
sons of Kausika were not spared!
one left alive was Kausika himself, who returned
Since then, his hatred for Vasishthha grew into
Kausika's anger and
hatred were a curse to him.
was ever peaceful,
even during this incident.
cautioned him, "The
angry man cannot succeed. He
sins and loses his
respect. He distances himself from his
dear ones and is despised by all. This dire enemy,
happiness of man. Your enemy is within
outside." But Vasishthha's peaceful demeanor and
would cause Kausika's
anger to increase even more!
The True Meaning of Sacrifice
What is the reason for
anger and loss of discrimination? It is only attachment!
Why should a prosperous emperor desire this cow? He has
all comforts in his kingdom. This cow belonged to the
sage and was a divine blessing for feeding the denizens
of the forest. Why not let the cow dwell where its
services were most needed? Craving for objects that he
shouldn't desire is the reason for man's ruin. The
Bhâgavatam is replete with ideals:
(1) Keep your word. (2) Never lie. (3) Limit desires and
Yes, you may have
attachment for your wife and children. But keep it within
limits. Not only must you limit your attachment but limit
its duration also. Your householder life is only till
fifty years of age. By sixty years, you must enter
Vânaprastha (the withdrawn position,
normally the third phase of life between 40 and 60). You
should snap ties with wife and children and be free of
all responsibilities. The age of seventy years is the
time for complete renunciation
Instead of cultivating
such sacrifice, men today refuse to renounce attachments
till death. Only hell can result to such people. Help
your family and others to the extent possible. Discharge
your duties towards everyone. And remember that every
person is independent, governed by his individual
karma. Everyone is responsible for themself. Don't
cultivate attachment, which is the root cause of sorrow.
In this modem age, 99 out
of 100 people spend their lives in attachment. Even those
with perfect renunciation in ancient Bharath could
not escape sorrow! Then how can modern man, submerged in
attachment, expect to live happily? Remember, each one is
responsible for oneself. Develop such feelings of
sacrifice. For this reason the Vedas
Na Karmana Na
Prajaya Dhanena Tyaagenaike Amritatvamaanashu.
Not by good deeds, children or wealth but only by
sacrifice is immortality attained.
What is the meaning of
"sacrifice"? Attachment (raga) and hatred
(dvesha) must be sacrificed. People talk about the
must be appeased so that our lives are free of
misfortunes. Really, there are not nine, but only two
grahas that we must be mindful of: attachment
and hatred! These two put us through suffering.
Renounce attachment and hatred. This alone is true
sacrifice, true renunciation: Cultivate thoughts of God
and think of everyone's welfare.
May all the worlds be happy.
You must pray in this
manner every day. Do not limit yourself to your family,
friends, and relatives. Everyone must be happy. With such
prayer, victory and peace will fill you!
So, gradually strengthen
your spirit of sacrifice. What is sacrifice? You must
sacrifice attachment and hatred. These feelings lie at
the root of all possessiveness. If you only give up
money, clothes, property and possessions, that is not
Decrease Attachment to the Body
Students! Develop this
correct outlook from a tender age. Get rid of bodily
attachment gradually, to the extent possible. Use the
body merely as a tool to perform your duties. The body
has been given for performing actions but it is not
everlasting. Do not develop attachment or pride on its
account. The body is like a glass tumbler. It might break
at any moment.
Body is a water
Mind is a mad monkey.
Don't follow the body.
Don't follow the mind.
Follow the conscience.
attachment to the body beyond limits. That is why our
ancient sages went into solitude to overcome bodily
attachment. They took care of their bodies but at the
same time, decreased their physical attachment. Those who
aspire for divinity must necessarily embark on this path.
However, if you don't want God, you can remain
preoccupied with the body for as long as you wish,
because that will give you the temporary happiness you
One small example: Once,
for a mistake, Nârada was cursed by Lord
Nârâyana and took birth as a pig. He
wallowed in mud all day and it seemed to be
to him! Then he married a she-pig and became a father to
nine piglets. This pig-Nârada was so happy wading
through filth along with his wife and children. For him,
that filth was Vaikunthha, his pigwife was
and his children were heaven! From time to time, Devas
would pass by and remonstrate with him, "What is this
pitiable state, Nârada? Shed this attachment to a
pig's body. We are on our way to meet Lord
Nârâyana. Realize your true identity
and come with us."
Then the pig-Nârada
would reply, "No, no, no! I don't want your tasteless
world. See how happy I am here! My wife is so beautiful!
I have nine children, as glorious as the nine planets.
And the enjoyment of wading in this mud is not available
to me even in heaven! How can I simply leave these joys
and come away?"
What is the lesson here?
Who was overcome by attachment? None other than
Nârada, a mentally created son of
Brahmâ! So, you may definitely have
attachment and desires. But limit them. With limited
desires, attain the limitless Divinity - This is the easy
path. If you fail to put a ceiling on desires, you
distance yourself from God.
Students, plan your life
along idealistic lines from a young age and demonstrate
it to society. You definitely have the freedom and the
right to desire the necessities of life. But don't
cultivate too many desires. Cut your ego and limit
attachment, thereby letting divine feelings flourish.
This is what Vedanta
and the Bhâgavatam
The Bhâgavatam is "His Story"
There are many stories,
some strange, in the Bhâgavatam. You might find
them long or cumbersome. No, no. They are all
"histories". "History" means "His Story" - stories of
God. Unfortunately we are unable to appreciate the
Bhâgavatam. Hence, we violate its teachings. Truly,
every verse of this scripture is a pearl, a diamond.
Bhâgavatam was written for the very purpose of
teaching the secrets of attaining God. Otherwise, why
would Vyâsa sit dispiritedly on the banks of
river Sarasvatî after composing the eighteen
Purânas, and why would Nârada go there and
advise him to compose Bhâgavatam?
Vyâsa, "You wrote the Purânas
and the Mahâbhâratha and earned
the name sloka dâta - giver of divine
verses. But your slokas (divine verses) could
not dispel your soka (sorrow). You inquired into
the intentions of the wicked Kauravas and
described their characters in the
Mahâbhâratha. Thus your mind was sullied. To
cleanse yourself, now describe the stories of the Lord.
Write the Bhâgavatam." There is no text
greater than the Bhägavatam. Why? The
Bhâgavatam alone explains the nature of God
Give up Kama to Attain Râma
There was a being who was
able to assume different forms. Assuming the form of a
monkey, he went around telling people, "You fools! Look
at me. I am a monkey. I dwell inside you as your mind. I
am responsible for your fickleness. Even monkeys served
Râma despite their unsteadiness. But you men follow
kama (desire) instead of Râma". (see
Do you see? Even monkeys
were intelligent to serve Râma. But men run
after kama. They are more foolish than monkeys!
Desires, desires, desires... How can Râma grant His
vision to one drowned in desires? Decrease your desires
gradually. Like the horns of a bull, which grow with age,
your desires are ever-increasing! This is not proper.
Human values will degenerate into animal qualities if
this trend persists.
Students! As much as
possible, decrease your desires. Desires are the prime
cause of sorrow. The less our desires, the more our
bliss. While performing worldly duties, do virtuous
actions and think of spiritual matters. Our country is
full of miserable situations. Students should arm
themselves with skills and capacity and rectify these
concluded with the bhajan:
"Bhava Bhaya Harana, Vandita Charana" )
Dynasty; Lord Râma appeared in the
Sûrya-vams'a of Ikshvâku or the sun-dynasty
and Lord Krishna appeared in the Candra-vams'a or the
Kausika: and Vis'vâmitra
are the same person. Originally angry and proud as
Kausika, he undertook arduous penance and conquered his
ego. Then he came to be known as Sage Vis'vâmitra.
In this discourse, the name Kausika is used when he was a
King or an "unripe" sage. The name Vis'vâmitra is
used after he became a perfected sage or
established in Brahman (Self) - Highest class of
Rajarishi: King among sages
- A title granted to eminent sages.
Adi Shankaracharya's importance to not only Advaita
thought, but Hinduism as it was subsequently practiced
and understood, even by those who would not consider
themselves Advaitist, cannot be stressed enough. His main
works are the Brahma Bhashyas, which are commentaries on
the Brahma Sutras, a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in
nondualist strains, and his own treatise on Advaita, the
Viveka Choodamani/Viveka Chudamani. In addition,
he is well known for propounding a system of bhakti, or
selfless devotion, within an Advaitic system of
philosophy, in a number of bhajans, or devotional songs,
the most famous being Bhaja
Soundaryalahari and Sivanandalahari
Ritvik: the state of being a
ritvij or priest; there are four of them:
- the hotâ priest (the one offering oblations and
singing theRig Veda verses),
- the brahma priest (supervising the proceedings),
- the adhvaryu priest (who chant the Yayur-mantras and
prepares the sacrifice by arranging the sacrificial
ground, the altar, etc.)
- and the udgâtâ priest (singing the
- The three forms of sacrifice are constituted by the
three Vedas which provide for the verses used by the
offerings of the hotâ, the advaryu and the
Deva: demigod; great personality
in devotion unto Krishna, selfrealized to independent
- Living being, empowered by the Lord with the might to
rule over a certain section of the universe, like the
sun, the rain, fire etc., and also to watch over the
well-being of all living beings.
- Pious being, servant of God. Godly person, demigod.
- In three kinds: Adityas or sons of Aditi (see S.B. 8.16
& 17), the Vasus and the Rudras. The virtuous, the
good and the purifiers.
- The Brihadaranyak Upanishad says that there are mainly
thirty-three gods who are important in the celestial
world in terms of the performance of Vedic rituals and
the yajñas. Other celestial gods are affiliates to
them. They are: eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve
Adityas (forms of sun god), Indra and Prajâpati
finding sympathy to engage in the sphere of devotional
powers): in Hindu astrology - Aditya, Soma, Mangala,
Budha, Guru, Sukra, Sani, Rahu and Ketu.
Vaikunthha: Abode of Lord
Kailasa: Abode of Lord
(knowledge-end): the conclusions of vedic knowledge as
laid down in the Bhagavad Gîtâ,
VVedânta-sûtra and the Upanishads and next in
the S'riimad Bhâgavatam, who teach the highest
realization of the Absolute Truth: surrender to Krishna;
the essence of the vedic philosophy.
Bâgavatam (Bhagavata Purâna): The most
beautiful about Him, the Fortunate one. The
Krishna-'Bible', spoken by S'ukadeva Gosvâmî,
the son of Vyâsadeva who wrote down the story of
Krishna. In this book, a collection of classical stories,
of about 18000 verses is each and everything described of
bhakti-yoga as also the entire life of Lord krishna and
other avatâras of Vishnu; it is a compendium of
vedic wisdom that contains the creme of the vedic
to the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam on the
- The most important of the eighteen main Purânas
also called the paramahamsa samhita.
- One of the six Vishnu-purânas