Prahlada Muni Samvada (प्रह्लादमुन्योः संवादः)

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Prahlada Muni Samvada (Samskrit: प्रह्लादमुन्योः संवादः) is a conversation between Raja Prahlada and a sage enumerated in the Bhagavata Purana (Skandha 7, Adhyaya 13). It talks about the Ajagara mode of life.[1]

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

In the 7th Skandha of the Bhagavata Purana, Shri Shuka enumerates a dialogue between Maharshi Narada and Maharaja Yudhisthira to Raja Parikshit. Here, Shri Narada Muni has been describing the symptoms of various ashramas and varnas. In this context, in the 13th adhyaya, he specifically describes the regulative principles to be followed by sannyasis. He says that when a sannyasi becomes completely independent, peaceful and equipoised, he can select the destination he desires after death and follow the principles by which to reach that destination. He mentions therein that although fully learned, a sannyasi should always remain silent, like a dumb person, and travel like a restless child.

This he explains by describing a meeting between Raja Prahlada and a sage who had adopted the mode of life of a python (or ajagara). And thus, brings forth the symptoms of a paramahamsa.[2]

परमहंसलक्षणम् ॥ Paramahamsa Lakshana

Through Prahlada Muni Samvada, Sage Narada explains that a person who has attained the paramahamsa stage knows very well the distinction between matter and spirit. He is not at all interested in gratifying the material senses, for he is always deriving pleasure from devotional seva (सेवा | selfless service) to the Supreme being. He is not very anxious to protect his material body. Being satisfied with whatever he attains by the grace of the Supreme, he is completely independent of material happiness and distress, and thus he is transcendental to all regulative principles. Sometimes he accepts severe austerities, and sometimes he accepts material opulence. He is never to be equated with materialistic men, nor is he subject to the judgments of such men.[2]

पार्श्वभूमिः ॥ Background

According to the Bhagavata Purana, while Prahlada (the beloved devotee of Bhagavan) was touring through the various worlds accompanied by a few ministers to acquaint himself with the true nature of people, he happened to see on the top of the Sahyadri (Western Ghats) on the bank of the Kaveri, some person lying on bare ground, his pure effulgence being concealed under a coat of dust covering all the parts of his body. By his actions, appearances, words or external emblems indicative of his varna and stage in life (ashrama), people could not recognize him as who or what he was and what he was not. Thus, having bowed down to the sage by touching his feet with his head and having worshipped him with due formalities, the Asura Raja (Prahlada), a prominent devotee of Bhagavan, who was curious to know the truth about the sage asked him the following question. (Bhagavata Purana, Skandha 7, Adhyaya 13, Verses 12-15).[1]

प्रह्लादस्य प्रश्नः ॥ Prahlada's Question

Prahlada who was curious to know about the sage who was emitting pure effulgence said,

बिभर्षि कायं पीवानं सोद्यमो भोगवान् यथा । वित्तं चैवोद्यमवतां भोगो वित्तवतामिह । भोगिनां खलु देहोऽयं पीवा भवति नान्यथा ॥ १६॥

न ते शयानस्य निरुद्यमस्य ब्रह्मन् नु हार्थो यत एव भोगः । अभोगिनोऽयं तव विप्र देहः पीवा यतस्तद्वद नः क्षमं चेत् ॥ १७॥

कविः कल्पो निपुणदृक् चित्रप्रियकथः समः । लोकस्य कुर्वतः कर्म शेषे तद्वीक्षितापि वा ॥ १८॥[3]

bibharṣi kāyaṁ pīvānaṁ sodyamo bhogavān yathā । vittaṁ caivodyamavatāṁ bhogo vittavatāmiha । bhogināṁ khalu deho'yaṁ pīvā bhavati nānyathā ॥ 16॥

na te śayānasya nirudyamasya brahman nu hārtho yata eva bhogaḥ । abhogino'yaṁ tava vipra dehaḥ pīvā yatastadvada naḥ kṣamaṁ cet ॥ 17॥

kaviḥ kalpo nipuṇadr̥k citrapriyakathaḥ samaḥ । lokasya kurvataḥ karma śeṣe tadvīkṣitāpi vā ॥ 18॥

Meaning: You have a robust body like an industrious person who enjoys a luxurious life. Wealth accrues to persons who are industrious. And comforts and luxuries can be afforded by wealthy people. Indeed only the bodies of those who are given to luxurious life become stout and not otherwise. Lying flat without doing any work as you do, Oh brahmana, you obviously possess no wealth which is the source of enjoyment of a luxurious life. If you think proper (to disclose), please tell us how your body is so well nourished despite your non-indulgence in luxuries and lack of comforts. Learned, capable, clever, possessing wonderfully sweet power of speech and of equable temper as you are, how is it that you lie down (doing nothing) simply looking on that other people are working.[1]

ब्राह्मणस्य उपदेशः ॥ The Brahmana's Advice

Being thus, questioned by Prahlada, the great sage advised as follows:

निवृत्तिः ॥ Cessation from Worldly Activities

He said,

तृष्णया भववाहिन्या योग्यैः कामैरपूरया । कर्माणि कार्यमाणोऽहं नानायोनिषु योजितः ॥ २३॥

यदृच्छया लोकमिमं प्रापितः कर्मभिर्भ्रमन् । स्वर्गापवर्गयोर्द्वारं तिरश्चां पुनरस्य च ॥ २४॥

अत्रापि दम्पतीनां च सुखायान्यापनुत्तये । कर्माणि कुर्वतां दृष्ट्वा निवृत्तोऽस्मि विपर्ययम् ॥ २५॥[3]

tr̥ṣṇayā bhavavāhinyā yogyaiḥ kāmairapūrayā । karmāṇi kāryamāṇo'haṁ nānāyoniṣu yojitaḥ ॥ 23॥

yadr̥cchayā lokamimaṁ prāpitaḥ karmabhirbhraman । svargāpavargayordvāraṁ tiraścāṁ punarasya ca ॥ 24॥

atrāpi dampatīnāṁ ca sukhāyānyāpanuttaye । karmāṇi kurvatāṁ dr̥ṣṭvā nivr̥tto'smi viparyayam ॥ 25॥

Meaning:

  • Being induced to do various actions by powerful desire which is never satiated by enjoyment of suitable objects, and thus becomes the source of the stream of births and deaths, I was forced to take birth in various species (13.23).
  • While wondering through various types of existence by force of karmas, and through sheer providence, I was brought to the human form of existence which is a gate-way to heaven or final emancipation or to sub-human life or to human life again (13.24).
  • Having observed the frustrations and failures of married couples while performing actions for securing happiness and avoiding pain in this life, I retired from worldly-activities (13.25).[1]

आत्मनः रूपम् ॥ The Nature of Atman

He further said,

सुखमस्यात्मनो रूपं सर्वेहोपरतिस्तनुः । मनःसंस्पर्शजान् दृष्ट्वा भोगान् स्वप्स्यामि संविशन् ॥ २६॥

इत्येतदात्मनः स्वार्थं सन्तं विस्मृत्य वै पुमान् । विचित्रामसति द्वैते घोरामाप्नोति संसृतिम् ॥ २७॥

जलं तदुद्भवैश्छन्नं हित्वाज्ञो जलकाम्यया । मृगतृष्णामुपाधावेद्यथान्यत्रार्थदृक् स्वतः ॥ २८॥[3]

sukhamasyātmano rūpaṁ sarvehoparatistanuḥ । manaḥsaṁsparśajān dr̥ṣṭvā bhogān svapsyāmi saṁviśan ॥ 26॥

ityetadātmanaḥ svārthaṁ santaṁ vismr̥tya vai pumān । vicitrāmasati dvaite ghorāmāpnoti saṁsr̥tim ॥ 27॥

jalaṁ tadudbhavaiśchannaṁ hitvājño jalakāmyayā । mr̥gatr̥ṣṇāmupādhāvedyathānyatrārthadr̥k svataḥ ॥ 28॥

Meaning:

  • Happiness is the essential nature of the atman. It is manifested after withdrawal and cessation of all activities. Having perceived that enjoyments and experiences are fanciful creations of the mind I lie down flat enjoying whatever is ordained for me by destiny (13.26).
  • Having forgotten that this blissful nature is inherent in one's self, a man is verily entangled into samsara which is terrible owing to birth, death and other miseries and strange as it consists of birth in celestial, sub-human, human and other-species' forms (13.27).
  • He who, being ignorant of his innate blissful state, thinks of finding his object (ie. happiness) outside his Self, is like a person who, with a desire to get water to quench his thirst, leaves water near him that is covered with acquatic weeds and other overgrowth and runs after the mirage (13.28).[1]

तृष्णात्यागः ॥ Renunciation of Desires

Elaborating on happiness and desire, he said,

देहादिभिर्दैवतन्त्रैरात्मनः सुखमीहतः । दुःखात्ययं चानीशस्य क्रिया मोघाः कृताः कृताः ॥ २९॥

आध्यात्मिकादिभिर्दुःखैरविमुक्तस्य कर्हिचित् । मर्त्यस्य कृच्छ्रोपनतैरर्थैः कामैः क्रियेत किम् ॥ ३०॥

पश्यामि धनिनां क्लेशं लुब्धानामजितात्मनाम् । भयादलब्धनिद्राणां सर्वतोऽभिविशङ्किनाम् ॥ ३१॥

राजतश्चौरतः शत्रोः स्वजनात्पशुपक्षितः । अर्थिभ्यः कालतः स्वस्मान्नित्यं प्राणार्थवद्भयम् ॥ ३२॥

शोकमोहभयक्रोधरागक्लैब्यश्रमादयः । यन्मूलाः स्युर्नृणां जह्यात्स्पृहां प्राणार्थयोर्बुधः ॥ ३३॥[3]

dehādibhirdaivatantrairātmanaḥ sukhamīhataḥ । duḥkhātyayaṁ cānīśasya kriyā moghāḥ kr̥tāḥ kr̥tāḥ ॥ 29॥

ādhyātmikādibhirduḥkhairavimuktasya karhicit । martyasya kr̥cchropanatairarthaiḥ kāmaiḥ kriyeta kim ॥ 30॥

paśyāmi dhanināṁ kleśaṁ lubdhānāmajitātmanām । bhayādalabdhanidrāṇāṁ sarvato'bhiviśaṅkinām ॥ 31॥

rājataścaurataḥ śatroḥ svajanātpaśupakṣitaḥ । arthibhyaḥ kālataḥ svasmānnityaṁ prāṇārthavadbhayam ॥ 32॥

śokamohabhayakrodharāgaklaibyaśramādayaḥ । yanmūlāḥ syurnr̥ṇāṁ jahyātspr̥hāṁ prāṇārthayorbudhaḥ ॥ 33॥

Meaning:

  • The living entity tries to achieve happiness and rid himself of the causes of distress, but because the various bodies of the living entities are under the full control of material nature, all his plans in different bodies, one after another, are ultimately baffled (13.29).[2]
  • Even if a man's efforts are successful, what pleasure can be derived from the hard-earned wealth and desired objects obtained with great difficulty to a mortal obsessed with the fear of death and the three types of miseries ie. adhyatmika, adhidaivika and adhibhautika (13.30).[1][2]
  • I perceive the agonies and tensions of wealthy covetous persons who have no control over themselves, and who have lost their sleep, out of fear, as they are suspicious of everybody on all sides (13.31).
  • I observe that those who are anxious about their life and wealth, entertain fear from rajas, robbers, enemies, their kinsmen, birds, beasts, time and themselves, at every moment (13.32).
  • Therefore, a wise man should give up longings for life and property which are the source of sorrow, infatuation, fear, anger, attachment, despondency, over-exertions and such other troubles (13.33).[1]

मधुकरमहासर्पदृष्टान्तः ॥ Allegory of the Bee and Python

The brahmana then explains to Maharaja Prahlada that, in this world, the bee and the big python are our best teachers, following whose example we learn renunciation and contentment. He says,

विरागः सर्वकामेभ्यः शिक्षितो मे मधुव्रतात् । कृच्छ्राप्तं मधुवद्वित्तं हत्वाप्यन्यो हरेत्पतिम् ॥ ३५॥

अनीहः परितुष्टात्मा यदृच्छोपनतादहम् । नो चेच्छये बह्वहानि महाहिरिव सत्त्ववान् ॥ ३६॥

क्वचिदल्पं क्वचिद्भूरि भुञ्जेऽन्नं स्वाद्वस्वादु वा । क्वचिद्भूरि गुणोपेतं गुणहीनमुत क्वचित् ॥ ३७॥

श्रद्धयोपहृतं क्वापि कदाचिन्मानवर्जितम् । भुञ्जे भुक्त्वाथ कस्मिंश्चिद्दिवा नक्तं यदृच्छया ॥ ३८॥

क्षौमं दुकूलमजिनं चीरं वल्कलमेव वा । वसेऽन्यदपि सम्प्राप्तं दिष्टभुक् तुष्टधीरहम् ॥ ३९॥

क्वचिच्छये धरोपस्थे तृणपर्णाश्मभस्मसु । क्वचित्प्रासादपर्यङ्के कशिपौ वा परेच्छया ॥ ४०॥

क्वचित्स्नातोऽनुलिप्ताङ्गः सुवासाः स्रग्व्यलङ्कृतः । रथेभाश्वैश्चरे क्वापि दिग्वासा ग्रहवद्विभो ॥ ४१॥[3]

virāgaḥ sarvakāmebhyaḥ śikṣito me madhuvratāt । kr̥cchrāptaṁ madhuvadvittaṁ hatvāpyanyo haretpatim ॥ 35॥

anīhaḥ parituṣṭātmā yadr̥cchopanatādaham । no cecchaye bahvahāni mahāhiriva sattvavān ॥ 36॥

kvacidalpaṁ kvacidbhūri bhuñje'nnaṁ svādvasvādu vā । kvacidbhūri guṇopetaṁ guṇahīnamuta kvacit ॥ 37॥

śraddhayopahr̥taṁ kvāpi kadācinmānavarjitam । bhuñje bhuktvātha kasmiṁściddivā naktaṁ yadr̥cchayā ॥ 38॥

kṣaumaṁ dukūlamajinaṁ cīraṁ valkalameva vā । vase'nyadapi samprāptaṁ diṣṭabhuk tuṣṭadhīraham ॥ 39॥

kvacicchaye dharopasthe tr̥ṇaparṇāśmabhasmasu । kvacitprāsādaparyaṅke kaśipau vā parecchayā ॥ 40॥

kvacitsnāto'nuliptāṅgaḥ suvāsāḥ sragvyalaṅkr̥taḥ । rathebhāśvaiścare kvāpi digvāsā grahavadvibho ॥ 41॥

Meaning:

  • I have learnt renunciation of all worldly objects from the bee, the gatherer of honey. For, any other person may kill the master and usurp the hard-earned money like honey is taken after killing the bees (13.35).
  • Being free from all desires with contented mind, I accept what is brought to me by providence. If not, I lie inactive like a serpent for many days, depending on my power. (13.36).
  • Sometimes I eat scant food; sometimes I enjoy a heavy meal irrespective of the sweetness or otherwise of the food. Sometimes I partake of highly rich and dainty dishes and sometimes worthless food (13.37).
  • At some places I eat food, that is offered to me with respect and sometimes with irreverence. Sometimes I do justice to food after eating; sometimes I eat food by day or by night as it is offered to me by chance (13.38).[1]
  • To cover my body I use whatever is available, whether it be linen, skin, cotton, bark or dearskin, according to my destiny, and I am fully satisfied and unagitated (13.39).[2]
  • Sometimes I lie on the surface of the earth, sometimes on leaves, grass or stone, sometimes on a pile of ashes, or sometimes, by the will of others, in a palace on a rich bed with pillows (13.40).
  • Oh Raja, sometimes I take bath with my body anointed with fragrant pigments. I put on rich garments and wear garlands and ornaments. Sometimes, I ride in a chariot or on an elephant or a horse and sometimes I travel naked like a person haunted by a ghost (13.41).[2][1]

परमहंसधर्मः ॥ Code of Conduct of Paramahamsas

Finally the brahmana says,

नाहं निन्दे न च स्तौमि स्वभावविषमं जनम् । एतेषां श्रेय आशासे उतैकात्म्यं महात्मनि ॥ ४२॥

विकल्पं जुहुयाच्चित्तौ तां मनस्यर्थविभ्रमे । मनो वैकारिके हुत्वा तन्मायायां जुहोत्यनु ॥ ४३॥

आत्मानुभूतौ तां मायां जुहुयात्सत्यदृङ्मुनिः । ततो निरीहो विरमेत्स्वानुभूत्याऽऽत्मनि स्थितः ॥ ४४॥[3]

nāhaṁ ninde na ca staumi svabhāvaviṣamaṁ janam । eteṣāṁ śreya āśāse utaikātmyaṁ mahātmani ॥ 42॥

vikalpaṁ juhuyāccittau tāṁ manasyarthavibhrame । mano vaikārike hutvā tanmāyāyāṁ juhotyanu ॥ 43॥

ātmānubhūtau tāṁ māyāṁ juhuyātsatyadr̥ṅmuniḥ । tato nirīho virametsvānubhūtyā''tmani sthitaḥ ॥ 44॥

Meaning:

  • I neither criticize nor praise people who are of diverse nature. I pray for their welfare and bless them with their union with the almighty Lord Vishnu (13.42).[1]
  • One should merge one's notion of diversity in the mental faculty that perceives such differences, that mental faculty into the mind which mistakes that unreal for the real, the mind into the sattvika ahamkara and should absorb that ahamkara through mahat in the maya regularly (13.43).
  • The sage who perceives the reality, should merge that maya into the realisation of his atman. Being devoid of all desires, he should establish himself in self-realisation and cease all activities (13.44).[1]

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, The Bhagavata Purana (Part III), Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology (Volume 9), Edited by J.L.Shastri, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, P.no.975-979.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam (Seventh Canto), Part 3-Chapters 10-15, 1976: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Bhagavata Purana, Skandha 7, Adhyaya 13.