Tag Archives: value based stories

Lord Rama meets Shabari!

Shabari was from the tribal community. She left everyone and everything in search of a Mahatma who would initiate her into spiritual knowledge. At last she came to the ashram of Sage Matanga at the foothills of Rishyamukha. The Sage accepted her as his disciple and initiated her into the higher knowledge. She served the sage very faithfully and devotedly. Many years passed. 

Desiring to fold up his manifestation, Matanga rishi called Shabari and told her of his decision. Shabari prayed to her teacher to bestow liberation on her also. The far-sighted rishi told her that it was not yet time for her to leave her physical body. He told her that in time, Lord Rama would come this way and she could give up her life and reach the Highest State of Liberation after meeting him. Having advised her, Rishi Matanga left for his heavenly abode. 

Shabari eagerly waited for the arrival of Lord Rama. Every day she would clear the pathway of stones and twigs and decorate the path with wild forest flowers. She would bring fresh clean water from the nearby lake to wash the Lord’s feet. And she would daily collect fruits for the Lord. She would taste every fruit. She would discard unripe and tasteless fruits and set aside the sweet fruits for the Lord. Years passed. Shabari became old, but did not lose hope. She knew that the Lord would come one day – her Guru’s words would indeed come true. So Shabari waited and waited…..

One day she saw Sri Rama accompanied by his brother Lakshmana approaching the ashram. Shabari was overwhelmed. She received the Lord with her heart filled with joy. The Lord smilingly acknowledged her devotion. Shabari offered a seat to the Lord and washed his feet. And then she brought the fruits that she had lovingly gathered for him. She gave the tasted fruits to the Lord. Lakshmana noticed that the fruits were bitten and protested that the fruits offered were already tasted and therefore not fit to be offered to the Lord.

Lord Rama smiled at Lakshmana and told him that the fruits were very sweet, infact doubly sweet! Lakshmana looked at Rama questioningly. Rama told him that not only the fruits were sweet by their own nature but they were doubly sweet because they contained the sweetness of Shabari’s devotion! On hearing this, Shabari’s eyes were brimming with tears. She prostrated to the Lord and asked him to bestow on her the kaivalya-pada. The Lord smiled and told her that her devotion alone had already made her the recipient of mukti! Infact it was her devotion that had led the Lord to her simple hut. Lord Rama enumerated the “Nava Bhakti Sadhana” to Shabari – the nine steps to reach that State of Devotion which in turn is nothing but the State of Enlightenment. 

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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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Yaksha Prashna – 5

[This post is in continuation of the post – Yaksha Prashna – 1 , 2, 3 & 4 where 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 of questions & answers were posted. In this post, 7 sets of questions & answers have been posted. The final post on Yaksha Prashna will be on next Wednesday. 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/ ]

24] Yaksha Prashna : What is that which is most difficult for man to conquer? What is the most powerful enemy of the mind? Who is a noble and virtuous person? And who is an ignoble person?

Yudhisthira Answers : Krodha (Anger) is most difficult to conquer. Covetousness is the most powerful enemy of the mind. The virtuous and noble man is one who seeks the welfare of all creatures. The ignoble man is one who is devoid of compassion.

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25] Yaksha Prashna : What is moha (infatuation)? What is pride? What is laziness or inertia? What causes misery and sorrow?

Yudhisthira Answers : Absence of discrimination is moha. Over-exaggerated importance of one’s self is pride. Refraining from actions enjoined by our scriptures is inertia. Spiritual ignorance is the cause of misery and sorrow.

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26] Yaksha Prashna : What is steadfastness? What is inner strength? What is meant by ablution? What is charity?

Yudhisthira Answers : To remain centered in one’s own swadharma is steadfastness. Control over the sense-organs is inner strength. True ablution is the purification of the mind. To provide refuge and shelter to all creatures is real charity.

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27] Yaksha Prashna : Who is known as learned among men? Who is an atheist? What constitutes desire in an ignorant person? In what form does envy manifest?

Yudhisthira Answers : One who is well-versed in dharma (the law of being) is a learned man. One who lacks spiritual knowledge is an atheist. Desire is longing for worldly objects. Envy manifests itself as agitations in the mind. 

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28] Yaksha Prashna : What is pride and vanity? What is ostentation? What constitutes divinity or nobility? And what constitutes evil or wickedness?

Yudhisthira Answers : Ignorance of the Divine is the cause of pride and vanity. Ostentation is hypocrisy practised as a way of life. Nobility is generosity and magnanimity. Ridiculing and abusing others is wickedness.

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29] Yaksha Prashna : Dharma (Virtue), Artha (Wealth) and Kama (Desire) are mutually opposed to one another. How does one reconcile them in life?

Yudhisthira Answers : Dharma, Artha and Kama can be reconciled and they can co-exist if the wife (life’s companion) is a virtuous lady who lives the principles of satya, ahimsa, brahmacharya and dana – one who is a Sahadharmacharini. 

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30] Yaksha Prashna : What are the factors that retard the progress of an individual on the evolutionary path?

Yudhisthira Answers : One who invites a pious and virtuous person for bhiksha (to share) and then insults and humiliates him by refusing to share anything with him, one who disrespects the scriptures, the brahmanas (virtuous people), the gods and religion, one who has wealth but does not use it either for himself nor for others because of his greed, is the one who is bringing upon himself his own self-destruction.

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Lord Rama and Kevat

Sri Rama started on his fourteen years of exile to the forest along with Seeta and Lakshmana, to keep up his father Dasaratha’s promise to Kaikeyi. He met Guha, the tribal chieftain and asked him to arrange for a boatsman (Kevat) to take them across the river Ganga. Guha sent for the Kevat and asked him to take them across the river. But the Kevat refused saying that unless Rama let him personally wash His feet, he would not allow them to enter the boat. Guha angrily asked him why. The Kevat told him that he had heard that by the touch of the dust of the Lord’s feet, an inert and hard stone had transformed into a woman. His boat was made of softer material and if it comes in contact with the dust of Rama’s feet, surely and definitely it would also get transformed into a woman. Not only he would lose the boat which helped in his livelihood, but he would also have to look after another woman along with maintaining his family! That would not be possible for him at all. Guha was wonderstruck at his innocence. Lord Rama smiled and agreed to His feet being washed.

The Kevat brought a small plate and asked the Lord to place His feet in them. The Lord put His right foot on the plate. There wasn’t much space for His left foot in the plate. The Lord looked at the Kevat. It would be difficult for Him to balance Himself with both His feet in the small plate! The Kevat looked up and asked the Lord to place His hand on his head, and then place His left foot in the plate. In doing so, He would be able to maintain His balance! The Lord understood the humble and simple desire of the boatsman. All that he wanted was Bhagavan’s hand on his head as a sign of blessing. Rama placed His hand on Kevat’s head and put both His feet on the plate. Kevat was overwhelmed, and with eyes brimming with tears, he lovingly washed the Lord’s feet using the waters from Ganges. When the Lord was about to place His feet on the ground and enter the boat, Kevat stretched out his hand for the Lord to place His feet on his palm, and then enter the boat! What a great devotee and what a blessing!

Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana got into the boat and the Kevat took them across the river onto the other side. They stepped out of the boat and the Lord had to give him something for rowing them across. The Lord looked at Seeta and she removed her ring from her finger and gave it to Rama. Rama offered the ring to Kevat for taking them across the river. Kevat politely declined the offer saying that there is no “give and take” between two people in the same profession! The Lord was surprised and asked him how both of them were in the same profession?

The Kevat very beautifully told the Lord, “I ferry people across the river. You ferry people across the ocean of samsara! Are we both not in the same profession?”

Every one there was surprised and amazed at the Kevat’s knowledge and devotion. He requested the Lord that on his return journey back from the forest after fourteen years, he should be again given the fortune of rowing them back to this side which the Lord promised.

 
The Kevat had ferried the Lord to and fro across the river. It was now the responsibility of the Lord to ferry the Kevat across the river of life!!

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