Tag Archives: Yama

Facing Death with Integrity

1.13.12-13

To answer the moral King’s questions, Vidura fully described all his experiences, one after another, leaving out the destruction of the Yadu dynasty. “Disturbing, painful things find us on their own, I need not tell him.” Compassionate Vidura could not bear to see their grief.

14

With the intention of benefiting his elder brother and bringing happiness to all, he stayed with them for some time, and was well treated with all amenities like a god.

15

While Yama was cursed to spend one hundred years in the body of a śūdra, Aryamā administered his duties of appropriately punishing the sinful.

Possibly this verse was directed by Sūta towards a question from the audience of sages, “Since Vidura is the incarnation of Yama, why was there no disturbance in the process of death, as there usually is whenever Yama leaves his post?”

16

Vidura saw that Yudhiṣṭhira’s kingdom was regained, there was a grandson to carry on the dynasty, and all the brothers were taking good care of the citizens, enjoying life with paramount opulence.

17

Those who are attached to these sorts of enjoyment become intoxicated and lost in them. Unseen, time’s supremely powerful doom creeps up on them.

Vidura thought of his brother, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, in this way.

18

Recognizing this, Vidura went to Dhṛtarāṣṭra and said, “King! Get out right now! Look! What you fear most is on the threshold!

Shocked, Dhṛtarāṣṭra asks, “What is it!?! What horrible doom approaches!?”

19

“There is no escape for anyone at any time! O Powerful One, it is the doom of the all-powerful that comes to all of us.

20

“It will overtake you and steal from your clinging grasp the thing you most adore: your very life! What else!? What of your wealth and so on!?

21

“Your father, brother, protectors and sons are all dead. Your own life is spent, and you are in the grip of old age. Yet you live on in someone else’s home?

22

“From the beginning you were blind. Now your hearing and memory are crippled, too. Your teeth rattle and your stomach limps. Cacophonously you cough up phlegm.

23

“Aho! How people desperately cling to their hopes for life!!! Like a groveling dog you now eat the scraps left to you by Bhīma.

24

“You set fire to their home, gave them poison, and degraded their wife! You stole their lands and wealth! …Now you must live on their charity?

Will we sink to any humiliation to cling to the rotting, decrepit old body? Our will we proudly and bravely cast it off when it is worn out?

25

“Your body clings to life like a pitiful miser; yet still dwindles against your will, like old clothing.

26

“If you really want what is good for you, free yourself entirely from all these bonds. Go someplace unknown and cast off your body. Such a man is called wise.

27

“The best person is he who becomes detached from this world and gives up his possessions and life with his very self wholeheartedly fixed upon Hari. It doesn’t matter if it is due to his own inspiration or the inspiration given by someone else.

28

“Therefore go northward. Tell no one where. Very soon the time is coming when humanity will diminish.”

Even if the old man could live on, all he would see is the decrepitude of Kali-Yuga, which was on the verge of beginning.

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Seeing Krishna in the Womb

1.12.1-3

Śaunaka asked:

The Controller kept Uttarā’s womb viable and safe from the terrible power of Aśvatthāmā’s ultimate weapon. Please tell us of about the birth of that very wise child, and the life of that great soul, and his death, and of course how he achieved his next destination. We are eager and enthusiastic to know about this, for he is the one to whom Śuka gave knowledge.

If you consider how the story line developed just now, you’ll see that Sūta got carried away and drawn off topic due to his strong emotional affinity for speaking directly about Kṛṣṇa. Several chapters ago he began discussing the birth of Parīkṣit, but got drawn instead into describing Kṛṣṇa in detail. Since that story line had reached a conclusion by Kṛṣṇa being reunited with his intimate queens, Sūta is ready to return to his original topic: the birth of Parīkṣit. He required prodding from Śaunaka to do so, however, for his mind was still reminiscing on the previous topics.

4

Sūta said:

The moral king governed just like his father, and all the citizens were happy. He had no trace of personal ambitions or desires because he always wanted to be useful to Kṛṣṇa’s feet.

Sūta returns to the original storyline by picking up with a recap of King Yudhiṣṭhira’s reign.

Feet are a prevalent motif in Vedic symbolism. They are the lowest part of a person. So by saying “he always wanted to be useful to Kṛṣṇa’s feet” it indicated that the King so valued Kṛṣṇa that being useful to him even in the lowest and smallest manner was his only aspiration. Because the King therefore had no personal ambitions, he was completely free from the tenacious tendency towards exploitation. His actions as a leader were motivated only by philanthropic desire to care for the citizens. Thus his kingdom was extremely prosperous and happy.

5-6

His wealth, rituals, queens, brothers, kingdom and sovereignty over the earth was famous throughout the three skies. The gods themselves hanker and lust for what he had, but the king’s mind was full of Lotus-Faced (Mukuṇḍa), so there could never be any hunger for such things.

A hungry belly wants to eat, but a very full belly will turn away even from the most delicious treats. When the mind and heart is saturated with the All-Attractive, there is no hunger for anything else.

7-10

O Bhṛgu’s Son, when that heroic child was in the womb, he saw someone else with him as he began to suffer from the blast of the weapon. He was very pleasing to behold, with black complexion like a dark cloud surrounded by lightning-like yellow clothes and a blazing golden crown; very pure and only a digit in size. He had four beautifully long arms and earrings of purest gold. His eyes were red with anger and there was a mace in his hand. He moved like a shooting star, encircling the child and constantly swinging the mace to dissipate the blast of the weapon, just as the sun evaporates fog. The child thought, “Who is this?”

11

When All-Attractive Hari, who is the soul of all and protector of morality, was seen purifying all directions of danger, he immediately retreated to the inner recesses.

Hari emerged from the inner recesses of reality to protect the child from the weapon’s radiation. But when the child saw him doing so, Hari again disappeared into the inner recesses of reality.