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MARKANDEYA PURANA

Bhagwan Shiv

Evolution of human lives from birth to death and mystery thereafter!

 About the Evolution of human life from birth to death and the mystery thereafter Sage Jaimini requested the Holy Birds to delineate the process of Human Creation, its development in the womb by forbearing the difficulties inside it, its entry into the World, its Growth, its consciousness and Death, the Mystery that shrouded the Existence of Post-Life and of the cycle of rebirth that was normally believed in! Normally, the various kinds of food consumed ought to get digested in the belly’s ‘Jatharaagni’or the Digestive Fire; but how was it that an egg is formed instead of being digested away and grew as a foetus!

How was it that after entry into the world the child after gradually gaining consciousness commenced performing various actions of good and bad nature through- out one’s life!

These were the secret mysteries of human life that the Sage desired the Holy Birds to reveal. In reply, the Birds narrated the Story of Sumati, the son of a Brahmana called Mahamati, who grew up gradually and attained boyhood worthy of entering the phase of ‘Vidyardhi dasa’ or of Studentship. As the boy who did not appear smart enough to his father, the latter advised him that Sumati should take tutelage of a Guru, learn Vedas, become worldly-wise, gain experience in life, earn his own lively hood, get married, beget children, enjoy family life, then retire to ‘Vanaprastha’ Ashram to attain ‘Brahma Gyan’ and so on. Sumati smiled and replied to his father that whatever was being advised to him was already experienced during several of his previous births including the past experiences of some thousand years, that he learnt many Shastras like even Shilpa Shastra, that he had witnessed innumerable joys and sorrows of existences, had many parents, wives, children and relationships; that he underwent the tortures of births and deaths along with various diseases, was born as Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras; as animals, birds, and insignificant flies; as Kings, Servants, and poverty–sricken low class humans; as women and men; as kind and merciful beings and also as cruel, mean and timid; and so on! The Father asked the son as to how he had the knowledge of all the previous ‘Janmas ’with such long, peculiar and chequered past, and Sumati replied that he  had the gift of a ‘Jatismara’ or he who has the extraordinary power of past memories of a series of lives ranging from a Superior Sage and Yogi to a non-descript species of Lord’s Creation! In the previous birth, Sumati was a Brahmana who practised the difficult art of ‘Atma Vidya’ or aligning the self with Paramatma with great ernestness and was blessed by unusual memory power; that capacity coupled with ‘Abhyas’(constant application),‘Satsamyog’(Union with Truth), ‘Vichar’ (Introspection), and ‘Vidhi Shodhan’ (Dedication to Dutifulness) gave him the Title of ‘Acharya’. Even after death, the memory power was carried forward and made him a ‘Jatismara’ in retrospective effect and hence he knew the recollection of all his previous births! None could achieve the power of Jatismara in the normal way and having attained it, he would endeavour for Salvation. It was in this background, that Mahamati sought clarifications from his son Sumati on many doubts that were bothering him for long. Brief status of human beings at the time of death, after life and rebirth Sumati described the condition of one’s physique at the time of death:
Utkraanti kaalada-raabhya yatha naanyo vadishyati, Ushmaa prakupatih kaayo teevra vayusameeritah/
Bhinnaarti marma sthanaani deepyamaano nirindhanah, udaano nama pavanastatasya-urthvai pravartatey/
Bhuktaaanaamambu bhakshyaanamadho gati nirodhakrut, tatho Yenaambu naanaani krutaanna rasaatathaa, dattaah sa tasya aahvaadamaapadi prati-padyate/
Annaani yena dattaani shraddhaaputena chetasa, sopi triptimavaapnoti vinaapyannena vai tadaa/
yenaanrutaani preeti bhedah krutonacha, Aastikah shraddaa- nascha sa sukham Mrutyumrucchati/
(At the time of death, the position of human body would be such that ‘Pitta’ or bile becomes frothy and even without heat creates severe wind that breaks the functioning of the secret places of the body ; a wind present in the body named ‘Udaan’ and creates obsruction to the movement of water / life force into the body parts thus resulting in death. Those who donate water / food liberally; or those who are truthful and God-fearing; or who do not get victimised by the vices of the world are only saved of the severe crisis at that critical time and pass away peacefully.)

Those who respect Brahmanas and worship Devas, who speak without jealousy but softly and without hurting others, those who are modest and egoless; and those who could restrain desire, anger and hatred but follow Dharma (virtue) are blessed with ‘Sukha Mrityu’.Further, those who give away kaashtha (wood) as‘Daan’ (Charity) would not feel too cold at the time of death and provide ‘Chandan’do not suffer from extreme heat. Contrarily, those who do not take care of the hungry or thirsty, who teach or train in wrong ways of life; that provide false evidences or curse Vedas and the Virtuous, would face Yama dootas right in their faces but their desperate shouts and cries are never heard! The ‘Prani’ (dying person) tends to roll the eye balls, the speech gets incoherent, sense of recognition gets blurred, and breathing goes unusually fast up and down, and finally leaves the mortal world. The Yamadootas bundle up the ‘Jeevi’ (the mini body) with heavy ropes towards the southern direction and drag ‘it’ forcibly over thorns, iron nails, sharp stones, fiery paths, scorching sands and boiling oil fields as horrifying sounds are heard and frightful visuals and images are witnessed all along the route. On the twelfth day, the Prani tends to secure some relief from the ‘Tila Tarpan’(water with Tila seeds) and ‘Pindas’ made of cooked Rice / wheat flour as provided the ‘Karta’(Performer) of the obsequies.Thereafter the Prani approaches the most appalling ‘Yamapuri, where gets a glimpse of the dark coloured, most scaring, blood red eyed, and highly authoritive Yama Dharmaraja whose decisions are equitable, unbiased and irrevocable, taking account the detailed account of the pluses and minuses of the deeds of the Prani as recorded by the most accurate and unfailing Supreme Computer. Those Pranis who are ‘Midyhavadis’ (Protagonist of Falsity) and ‘Midhya Saakshis’ (Evidences of Falsity) or Killers of cows, Brahmanas, Parents, Well-wishers, Women, Close Ascociates; those who usurp land, commit rape, and such other serious offences are consigned to ‘Raurava Naraka’which is two thousand yojanas far and wide ‘Agni Kunda’ ( Fire Pit), where the entire treatment is by way ofroasting, burning, scorching and frying. After getting the due punishment, in Raurava or in any other Naraka., the Prani is reborn taking into the stock of Sin still retained as ‘Sanchita’ or carry forward and the kind of species as destined for the rebirth in any form ranging from a tree, waterbody, worm, bird, fly, animal, or a human being; among the human beings too, rebirth would take place as per the destiny decided by Lord Yamadharma Raja; the rebirth could be in any ‘Varna’ as a Brahmana, or a Kshatriya, or  Vyasya or a Shudra; as a man or woman; in a rich, medium or poor financial standing; with mental capability or as a flop etc. There could t be infinite permutations or combinations of rebirth as per the decision of Dharmaraja grossly called as destiny.

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