Tuesday, November 06, 2012

15. The story of Puranjana -- (contd. -- Narada's explanation)

When Prachinabarhi appeals to sage Narada to explain the allegorical teaching on the subject of the spirit, Narada explains:
"O King, one should understand that Puranjana is the Jiva (an embodied soul). It is the jiva that produces a stronghold for itself in the form of a body with one, two, three, four or numerous feet or without any feet.
"The friend Avijnata referred to is God, as he is not fully known by the Jivas.
"Jiva thinks the human body endowed with hands, feet and nine apertures, is the best suited to enjoy all material objects.
"Puranjani, the one who has Puranjana under her grip is the human intellect, which gives rise to the notions of 'I' and 'mine'. Identifying himself with it, he enjoys the various objects throught the senses.
The ten indriyas (five senses of perception and five organs of action), which bring about all knowledge, are the male companions of Puranjani.  Their activities are the female companions and the vital air with its fivefold activity is referred to as the five hooded serpent. The kingdom of Panchala represents the five sense objects, in the midst of which stands the city with nine gates.  The gynaeceum, or the innermost apartment, is the heart and the eleventh mighty warrior waiting on Puranjani, is Brhadbala, the mind.
"As the equilibrium of the intellect is disturbed, the senses are disturbed giving rise to the three gunas.  And the Jiva, affected by its qualities, is compelled to follow its changes.  Although essentially the Jiva is a mere witness.
"The body is the chariot, having the senses of perception for its horses, coursing through like the year, though motionless. Good and bad karmas are its wheels. The three gunas (satva, rajas and thamas) are the flag-staffs. The five vital airs are its five cords (prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana).  The mind is its single rein. The intellect, the charioteer.  The heart, the seat for the occupant of the chariot. The pairs of opposites are the poles to which the yoke is fixed.
"Chandavega, the chief of gandharvas, symbolises the passage of time. His 720 strong retinue (360 men and 360 women - half in white and half in black complexion), are the days and nights who steal life by rotation. Old age is the daughter of Kala. Death in the person of Bhaya (fear) accepts her as a sister, to help in destruction of the world.
"Mental anguishes and physical disorders are the Yavanas, the mobilised troops. And the fever of two kinds is personified as Prajwara.
"O king, there is no such thing as absolute freedom for the Jiva -- from three types of sufferings. Brought about by divine agencies, those inflicted by one's fellow beings and those relating to one's own body or mind. Even if there seems to be redemption for one, it proves to be a precursor to another. Freedom from ignorance can be secured only through devotion to the Lord, the supreme Guru. Even the Prajapathis (lords of creation), great sages like Marichi, Atri, Bhrigu and myself (Narada), have not been able to behold the Supreme Lord, inspite of our efforts to perceive him through asceticism,  worship and concentration of the mind. It is only through his grace, which he showers on his devotees, that one can turn towards him, giving up deep-rooted faith in worldly matters.
"Therefore, Prachinabarhi, rituals, though their accounts are alluring to hear, have no relation whatsoever with the ultimate reality. They appear to be real only through ignorance. That alone is the ritual which is conducive to the pleasure of SriHari and that alone is wisdom, which leads to faith in him."
Prachinabarhi asks sage Narada: " O sage, I have pondered over what you have said. My preceptors, well versed in vedic rituals, have instructed me. But how can a jiva who casts of his body here, reap the consequences of his actions in a future life through another body. How can a thing which has altogether disappeared yield good or evil consequences?"
Narada replies, "the jiva itself experiences consequences of its actions hereafter through the subtle body. The feeling of 'I' and 'mine' which is inherent in the Jiva, does not cease, as long as the subtle body persists. The subtle body is made up of five subtle elements (further developed into sixteen modifications -- five vital airs, the mind and ten indriyas), and which is a product of the three gunas. It is through these subtle bodies that the Jiva assumes and casts off physical bodies again and again. Like a caterpillar, which does not leave its foothold until it firmly sets foot on an other.  It is the mind alone which is responsible for bringing about the birth and death of living beings. When a Jiva resorts to action, thinking of the pleasures enjoyed by it, it is bound by such actions, causing the chain of births and deaths.
"In order to get rid of this bondage, worship SriHari.  Look upon this universe as one with him inasmuch as it proceeds from him, stays in him, and also dissolves in him."
Prachinabarhi was cleared of all his doubts. Narada, foremost among the devotees of the Lord, takes leave of the king.
Prachinabarhi retires to the hermit of sage Kapila at the mouth of the Ganga to practise asceticism.

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Srimad Bhagavatham