Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Srimad Bhagavatam - Chapter 18 & 19


Srimad Bhagavatam - Chapter 18 ‘ The Curse of the Rishi Kumara ‘ and
Chapter 19 ‘ Sukar Appears before Parikshit ‘

 (Source: Velukkudi Sri. Sri. Krishnan Swamy's writings in recent Tamil weekly Tuglak  - This would serve the limited purpose to read this chapter of Sacred Srimad Bhagavatham by those who don't know to read Tamil or don't get access to the related recent issues of the  Tamil weekly magazine 'Tuglak')

Suta addressed Sounaka and other Rishis :- “ Listeners would get inspired to hear the poignant story of Parikshit who renounced his body at the banks of holy Ganges. Their belief in God gets strengthened. Their sins get washed away. Parikshit, who hailed from a family of honor and dignity and heralded to uphold the family heritage did not kill Kali but belittled him and warned him not to interfere or wield his influence where people led a righteous life. Kali was not evicted by Parikshit because of certain good qualities he possessed. In the previous Yugas like Kruta and Treta, one had to toil hard to earn ‘punya’ (God's blessings) whereas in Kali Yuga, it becomes easy -  good thoughts themselves will beget ‘punya’. As many as 1000 years were required to accomplish some feat in Kruta Yuga whereas it is possible to attain the same in a short span in the present Yuga. It is due to these reasons Parikshit allowed Kali to stay but with some restrictions. Kali may have a say with cowards. But those who are strong minded and have implicit faith in God, Kali will dare to come near. It is important, that to ward off Kali, we should listen to Puranas which extol the grace of God and eulogize Bhagavan’s ‘ kalyana gunas’ at length and keep reading to make it as a  daily routine.

The Rishis assembled voiced that they were fortunate to listen to the rendering of Srimad Bhagavatam from Suta and that they had no doubt that their sins would be washed and make them reach the feet of Bhagavan ultimately. They pleaded Suta to continue the narration of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Suta Pouranika was modest to add that it was because of the ‘Satsang’, he was inspired to speak about Bhagavan who is the abode of all virtues. We are endowed with a power of speech and it would serve as a useless tinsel if not utilized to sing the praise of Bhagavan. God endears to hear simple slokas rendered in Bhakti from any one irrespective of their status. But it is not possible for anyone to bring Bhagavan under his hold. Suta continues to tell the story of Parikshit :-

“ Parikshit went to the forest for hunting. He was tired and felt hungry and thirsty. He entered an Ashram that belonged to a Sage called Sringi who was in deep meditation.  He did not take notice of the King’s presence nor heard his request for water. The King felt humiliated and in anger threw a dead snake around the Rishi’s neck and departed from the scene.  Rishi Kumara who entered a little later was infuriated to see his father in that condition. He cursed that the King who threw the dead serpent would meet his death by the bite of a snake called ‘Takshaka’ within 7 days.

The Rishi opened his eyes and realized what had happened. He expressed  that Kings are representatives of Lord Vishnu as they are rulers and looked after the people. He chided his son that he should not have cursed the King. No harm could have come from a dead snake and the snake could have been removed from his neck .  A true Sage would never get angry if someone abused or troubled him. Instead he would be compassionate and correct the wrong doer. Atma has no ‘gunas’ and always remains unperturbed A true sage has the realization that the body only reacts and not the Atma. Suta continued to narrate what fate awaited King Parikshit.

Skanda1 Chapter 19 - ‘ Suka appears before Parikshit ‘.

Parikshit was bemoaning that he had committed a blunder in a hurry. The Rishi was in a state of ‘Samadhi’ when the king had entered the Ashram in search of water. How the Rishi could know the King’s need when he was in deep meditation? Parikshit said to himself that Gods would condone when a devotee regrets the mistake whereas Sages do not easily yield to the prayers of a wrongdoer. The King also knew that he could not seek forgiveness from God but instead should approach the particular Sage only.

Vedanta Desika, a learned Acharya, advocates four ways for getting atonement:-
(1) Accept the mistake in the presence of the concerned and express regrets.
(2) Resolve that the mistake will never be repeated.
(3) Find out the exact method for performing ‘prayaschitta’ from Sastras.
(4) Undergo the same (performing atonement).

The lesson from the incident is clear that Sastras do not agree or accord pardon when a mistake is repeated. Instead one should feel sorry deeply and resolve not to repeat the mistake. God forgives such cases only. Otherwise one has to undergo the punishment and suffer the consequences.

Parikshit made up his mind to renounce the Kingdom. He crowned his son Janamejaya as the King. Further Parikshit thought what he should do to atone the wrongdoing within the next seven days of his life. He then reached the banks of the sacred river Ganga. He announced that he would fast, perform ‘tapas’  and renounce his body by the act of ‘prayopavesam’.

The Four Words that begin with the letter ‘G’  namely Govinda, Gayathri, Gita and Ganga, are really sacred and if a person imbibes the greatness of these, there is no rebirth for him. Prayag means ‘meeting point’ and at Devaprayag, the Rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi confluence. Ganga resides in the hand of Brahma, the God with four Faces. Ganga also resides in Vishnu who has ‘Chatur Bhuja’. Ganga resides also in Lord Siva’s  head. Ganga who remains very close to Trimurti in the above manner is believed to be resourceful and devotees worship Ganga Devi. The King Parikshit’s resolution to leave his body at Ganges was thus justified.

The King’s lofty resolution was appreciated by great Sages like Athri, Vasishta, Shyavana, Bhrugu, Angiras, Parasa, Vyasa, Viswamitra, Agastya, Vyasa, Narada and many others. They all  assembled at the place where Parikshit was getting ready to renounce his body. The King prostrated before the great Sages and started addressing them in voice full of compassion and remorse.



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