Category Archives: Mahabharata

Sri Krishna and Vasudeva: Absolute Surrender

Sri Krishna was born as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva on the rainy Ashtami night in the prison of Mathura. At that very moment Lord Vishnu appeared in front of them. Seeing the Divine Form of the Lord, the overjoyed couple prostrated to the Lord. Sri Hari told them to carry the new born baby to Gokula, leave the child with Yashoda, the wife of Nanda and bring their just born girl child back to Mathura.

When the Lord asked Vasudeva to carry him to Gokula, Vasudeva did not even for a moment stop to question the Lord how it would be possible for him to go when he is chained in a locked prison. He just accepted what the Lord told him. Absolute surrender to the Lord and implicit obedience to His words are the marks of true devotion. When devotion and surrender are total and complete, everything starts falling in place. It is now the Lord’s responsibility to take charge and accomplish whatever He wants. Hence the chains snap, bolts unlock, the prison doors open and the security dozes off! 

When Vasudeva stepped outside with baby Krishna placed in a basket over his head, it was not at all conducive for him. It was pitch dark outside and raining very heavily – there was thunder and lightning. But still Vasudeva did not step back. His complete devotion, total surrender, and implicit obedience to the Lord kept him moving ahead. River Yamuna in floods represents our samsara wherein we are being tossed up and down by the pairs of opposites, like heat and cold, joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, honour and dishonour, likes and dislikes. 

Vasudeva entered the waters with the Lord-in-the-basket on his head. The waters kept rising and further rising. But he still continued to move ahead. The waters came up to his chest, and then slowly up to his mouth. A little dirty and muddy water went into his mouth also. Still further when the waters rose up to his nose, the Lord knew that it spelt disaster to Vasudeva and slowly put His tiny foot outside the basket. Krishna’s big toe was exactly in line with Vasudeva’s nose. Yamuna Devi respectfully touched the Lord’s toe and immediately the waters went down! She could not rise beyond the Lord’s toe. The waters therefore could not reach Vasudeva’s nose and he was saved. 

Similarly, if we keep the Lord and His remembrance in our mind and intellect (carry Krishna on the head) and then enter into the waters of life, difficulties, challenges, troubles, hurdles and obstacles will come enroute. They may even give us a lot of pain and sorrow (reach our mouth) and create a crisis situation for us. But if the problems try to completely shatter and destroy us (water rising to the nose), the Lord immediately comes to the rescue of the devotee (the Lord put His toe out of the basket) and protects him from completely getting destroyed and takes him safely across the turbulent waters of samsara and provides a conducive environment for our spiritual growth (the Lord is taken to Gokula). 

When the “Lord’s Will becomes our Will”, when we recognise the Lord alone as the “Doer” accomplishing everything through us who are nothing but His chosen instruments, and when we are able to recognise the Lord alone as the “Enjoyer” of the fruits of our actions with “Krishnarpana Buddhi“, then and then alone “Sri Krishna Janmotsava” becomes meaningful for us in our life. Sri Krishna becomes our “Gathi” — the GOAL of Self-realization to be reached and the PATH to be pursued by a seeker.

Sri Krishna! Govinda! Hare Murare!Hey Natha! Narayana! Vasudeva!

Lord Krishna is both the way and the goal. He alone is our Gathi. To meditate upon Him with all our mind and to awake to the State of Krishna-Consciousness is to awake to a larger, vaster, infinite awareness of the meaning of life. - Swami Chinmayananda

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Bhima meets Hanuman – Lifting of the tail!

Hanuman and Bhima

The Pandavas were in exile living in the forest for twelve years. One day, as they were moving around in the forest, a gentle breeze carried along with it a beautiful celestial flower known as Saugandhika and dropped it on the ground in front of Draupadi. Draupadi was wonderstruck at the beauty of the flower and the divine fragrance emanating from it. She longed to have more of those flowers and requested Bhima to get them for her. Bhima obliged and went in search of the flowers.

Bhima walked through forests and mountains, roaring and thundering and exhibiting his might and strength.  Suddenly on his route, he found a huge, old monkey lying on a rock. Its long tail was obstructing Bhima’s path. Bhima shouted at the monkey to move away from his path. The monkey got up as if from sleep and asked Bhima who he was and why he was creating so much of disturbance in the otherwise quiet environment of the forest. Bhima boasted about himself and told the monkey that he was one of the Pandava brothers and that he was the son of Vayu and the brother of Hanuman. Again Bhima asked the monkey to move away, but the monkey replied that he was too weak and had no energy to move his tail. He asked Bhima to push his tail aside and move on.

Bhima, the most powerful and strong who had the strength of ten thousand elephants was now being asked by an old monkey to lift its tail! He was furious by this time. He tried to push the monkey’s tail aside with his mace but could not move it even by an inch. He was surprised! Bhima tried again and again to move the monkey’s tail with all his might but miserably failed. Exhausted, Bhima realized that this was no ordinary monkey. With folded hands he requested the monkey to reveal his true identity.Then, Lord Hanuman revealed his true form. Bhima was overjoyed to see his brother Hanuman. They both embraced each other joyfully.

Lord Hanuman told Bhima not to be arrogant of his might and strength, and this was just a lesson for Bhima to remain humble. Hanuman also advised him on the duties and responsibilities of the various categories into which the society is divided into – the intellectuals, the warriors, the tradesmen and the working class.  Bhima asked Hanuman to show him his huge colossal form with which he had crossed the ocean in search of Seeta. Hanuman showed his magnificent, effulgent, gigantic form to Bhima. Bhima was overwhelmed to see the awesome form of Hanuman and saluted him again and again. Hanuman showered his grace and blessings on Bhima and promised Bhima that during the Kurukshetra war, he would be on their side as a source of inspiration, might and strength. Hanuman also told Bhima that his thunderous roar would resonate along with terrible roar of Bhima during the war which would send shivers down the spine of the Kauravas. Hanuman also told Bhima that he would adorn the flag-post of Arjuna’s chariot and lead them on the path to victory. 

Keep the attitude of the humble-servant of the Lord and watch how your work can progress..... when ego rises in us, the harmony is lost and thereafter our work​ dims in its divine glow. He alone is the Sole Doer and Accomplisher; we are, at best, only mere instruments​. - Swami Chinmayananda

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Raksha Bandhan!

Raksha Bandhan is a day on which sisters tie the sacred thread (rakhi) on the wrist of their brothers. A sense of responsibility, well-being, bonding between family members, sharing, etc is inculcated into the family members through the ritual of raksha-bandhan. The ritual denotes not only prayers for protection, health and long life for the brother, but it also represents the brother’s commitment to protect the dignity and respect of the sister.

 However, in its larger perspective, it is known as “Raksha Sutra”. The raksha-thread is first placed at the altar of the Lord, and then tied round the wrist of the person. Basically, it is to invoke the Lord’s blessings for protection from all dangers, harms, calamities etc. Normally after offering it to the Lord, either the priest or the eldest in the family ties it round the wrist of the individual. The sacred thread is also tied round the wrist when an individual makes a sankalpa or undertakes a vow. In this case it is called ‘kankana’. The individual is ‘kankana-badha’, meaning committed to his sankalpa or vow. When the sankalpa or vow is fulfilled, the ‘kankana-visarjana’ (removing the thread round the wrist) is carried out. The colour (red, yellow etc) of the thread depends upon the sankalpa. Undertaking a sankalpa or vow demands discipline and earnest self-effort on the part of the individual. The thread or sutra or kankana itself represents the VOW. It is a TAPAS, whether undertaken for one’s own self or for someone else. 

Two stories associated with Raksha Bandhan:

Goddess Lakshmi ties Rakhi to Bali : During the Vamana Avatar, Lord Vishnu made Bali Chakravarthi, the king of the lower world, and promised to remain there as his security. However the devatas wanted the Lord to return back to Vaikunta. All the devatas requested Goddess Lakshmi to help them. Lakshmi in the guise of an ordinary woman reached Bali Chakravarthi’s kingdom and sought protection and shelter from him stating that her husband had left her. Bali gave the Goddess shelter. Pleased with his hospitality, on the full-moon day of the month of Shravan, Lakshmi tied a raksha-sutra on Bali’s wrist seeking the blessings of the Lord for him. Bali was very pleased and and told her to ask whatever she wanted and he would grant it. Lakshmi asked Bali to relieve her husband from the security work he was doing. Bali was surprised and asked her who was her husband. Then, Goddess Lakshmi and Sri Hari appeared in their true form and gave darshan to Bali. The Lord and his consort went back to Vaikunta with an assurance to visit Bali’s kingdom every year.  Hence the tradition of women tying the raksha-sutra not only to brothers but to all well-wishers wishing them all goodness, plenty and prosperity, and they in turn promise to protect the dignity and respect of their mothers, sisters and daughters.

Lord Krishna and Draupadi : During the Rajasuya Yaga in Indraprastha, Yudhisthira decided to perform the agra-puja to Lord Krishna. The evil-minded Sisupala who hated Krishna insulted and abused Krishna in the royal assembly. When he crossed all limits and still continued to abuse the Lord, Krishna invoked his mighty and powerful Sudarshan Chakra. It came at tremendous speed, struck Sisupala down and with the same speed went back to settle on Krishna’s finger. Krishna’s finger got injured and started bleeding because of the chakra’s sharp edges. Everyone ran around trying to find something to bandage his finger. Draupadi who was standing there immediately tore a part of her saree and wrapped it around Krishna’s finger and to keep it in its place wound it round his wrist. The Lord was very pleased with her devotion and spontaneity and told her that he was indeed indebted to her for all his life. Considering her as his own sister, he told her that whenever and wherever she needed him, he would be there to protect her and this little act of tying a small piece of her garment round his finger would one day become “akshaya”. Later on, during the game of dice, when the Pandavas lost everything to the Kauravas, Dushasana dragged Draupadi into the assembly and tried to disrobe her. She invoked Krishna at that time and the Lord protected her from the humiliation – miraculously the saree she was wearing became “akshaya” and protected her. Raksha Bandhan therefore represents the Lord protecting his sister, Draupadi.

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Yaksha Prashna – 6

[This is the concluding post of the Yaksha Prashna Series and is in continuation of the post – Yaksha Prashna – 1 , 2, 3 , 4 & 5 . Lord Yama in the form of a yaksha asks questions to Yudhisthira (eldest among the Pandavas). In the 1st post 4 sets, in the 2nd post 7 sets and in the 3rd & 4th post 6 sets, and in the 5th 7 sets of questions & answers were posted. In this post, 4 sets of questions & answers have been posted. Link for Yaksha Prasna – 1: http://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/06/03/yaksha-prashna-1/ , For post 2 : http://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/06/09/yaksha-prashna-2/ , For post 3 : https://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/06/16/yaksha-prashna-3/ , For post 4: https://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/06/23/yaksha-prashna-4/ , For post 5 : https://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/06/30/yaksha-prashna-5/ ]

31] Yaksha Prashna : What characterizes a brahmana – Is it birth, character, or study of Vedas?

Yudhisthira Answers : Noble character and conduct, performance of meritorious deeds and a dispassionate personality mark the traits of a brahmana.

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32] Yaksha Prashna :What does a person of agreeable speech gain? What does a person who acts with purposefulness and consistency gain? What does a person who has many friends gain? And what does a person who is virtuous gain? 

Yudhisthira Answers : A person with agreeable speech is endeared by all. He who acts with purposefulness and consistency achieves success. He who has many friends lives happily. A virtuous person earns the respect of all.

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33] Yaksha Prashna : Who is the happiest person? What is the most astonishing factor in life? What constitutes the path to liberation? And what constitutes the greatest, eternal universal message to mankind? 

Yudhisthira Answers : He who is content with whatever he has is the happiest person. The most astonishing and wonderful thing is that even after daily seeing the phenomenon of death, in and around him, the foolish mortal man still desires for immortality and hopes to conquer the inevitable death. That time-tested path walked by the great sages and rishis alone is the path for seekers to tread. In the huge vessel-of-ignorance called the world, with the sun as the fire, and days and nights as fuel, and the months and seasons as the ladle, TIME is cooking all creatures with a variety of EXPERIENCES – this is the greatest eternal universal message to mankind.

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34] Yaksha Prashna : Who is a cultured man? And who is the one who is spiritually wealthy?

Yudhisthira Answers : A cultured man is he who with his meritorious deeds has fulfilled his life here and hereafter. He who remains in equanimity and is completely balanced with respect to the agreeable and disagreeable, to happiness and misery, the past and the future is one who is the wealthiest person (spiritually rich).

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The divine Yaksha was very pleased with all the answers that Yudhisthira gave him. As a boon he told Yudhisthira that one of his brothers would be restored back to life. On hearing this, Yudhisthira asked the Yaksha to bring Nakula back to life. Yaksha asked him why he wanted his step-brother to be revived rather than his own brothers Bhima and Arjuna.

In reply Yudhishthira said, “At no point of time in life should a person give up his Dharma. One who sacrifices virtues and compromises his Dharma is ultimately destroyed. On the other hand, Dharma in turn protects one who lives Dharma: ‘Dharmo rakshati rakshitah’. As the son of Kunti I am alive. I therefore request you to restore to life atleast one son of mother Madri”. The Yaksha was very pleased with Yudhishthira, who was verily the embodiment of Dharma and brought back all the brothers to life. Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva came back to life.

Yudhishthira realized that it was not a Yaksha who was in front of him, but a Divine Being. He prayerfully asked him to reveal his true identity. The Yaksha was none other than Yudhishthira’s father, Lord Dharma (Lord Yama) Himself who had come to test his son. He blessed the Pandavas who always walked the path of righteousness and told them that in the future success, victory and all glory would be theirs.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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