NARADA PURANA

Naradapuran

Shukadevas mastery of Vedangas, Upadeshas by Janaka, Vyasa and Sanat Kumara

As directed by his father Veda Vyasa to achieve expertise in the Six ‘Vedangas’viz. Siksha, Kalpa, Vyakaran, Nirukta, Vyakaran and Chhandas Shastra as stepping stones to accomplish ‘Moksha’, Suka Muni mastered the Vedangas and approached Veda Vyasa once again. The latter suggested to Shuka Deva to follow the normal route of ‘Ashrama Dharma’viz. Brahma- charya, Vivahika Jeevana, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa and advised him to meet King Janaka at Mithilapura the father of Devi Sita and the Epic Hero Shri Rama.

Veda Vyasa suggested that Suka Deva should adopt the normal route to the City of Mithila, instead of the Yoga Marg by ‘Antarisha’ or the Sky Route so that Suka Muni would be exposed to human experiences of joys and sorrows on the way. Veda Vyas asserted that King Janaka was not only his disciple but also his Master since he was a King and moreso an expert in the Moksha Shastra. As Suka Deva reached the Royal Palace, the Gate Keepers denied admission but an Official of the Court recognised the name of Veda Vyasa and that Sukha Deva was his son, admitted the latter into the private Chambers of the King, where several charming and coquettish girls sought to entertain the special guest of honour.But Suka Deva, being a person of full control of his faculties had no reactions either to women or wine. When he met the King, he conveyed that his father Vyasa suggested meeting him and clarifying some of his doubts; for instance: what were the duties of a Brahmana, what would be the Swarupa or Form of Moksha and how best to seek Moksha. King Janaka replied that a person born as a Brahmana would assume a second life after his ‘Upanayana Samskara’-hence known as a ‘Dwija’or twice born; he would then have the duties of Veda Pathana, Swaadhyayana, Tapasya, Guru Seva, strict practice of Brahmacharya, performance of homas, Shraddha/Tarpana and remittance of debts to Devas and Pitras, return from Gurukula to the Parents after giving Guru Dakshina, wedding,  earning livelhood for the self and ‘Samsara’; discharge of various ‘Garhastya responsibilities’ especially worship of deities, performance of Agni Karyas/ Yagnas, Vratas, Atithi Puja or worship of Guests, procreation of children, bringing them up, Charities, Tirtha Yatras, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa and Moksha sadhana.It would be necessary to go through the entire cycle of life of observing the ‘Purusharthas’ of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. It would be erroneous to presume that one could reach final stage of Moksha without passing through the phases of life and absorbing the experiences while transgressing the Regulations of Socio-religious frame work and practising self-control at every stage.
            After hearing King Janaka, Suka Deva questioned whether a person, who had already secured ‘Jnana-Vignana’ or the full Knowledge of Brahma during the Brahmachaya stage and was completely devoid of ‘Raga-Dweshas’ or desires and dislikes, would still have to pass through the other three Ashramas. In reply, King Janaka said that just as Moksha would not be possible of attainment without ‘Jnana-Vignana’, the latter too would ‘truly’ not be possible of attainment without a ‘Sadguru’ who alone could guide to swim through the Samsara. It was a Guru alone that could help draw lines of distinction between the ‘Dharmik Maryada’ or the limits of Virtue and those of ‘Karmanushthan’or Rituals. This guidance of sifting the good and bad would not be possible unless specific situations were faced and surmounted. The significance of radiance would be learnt only when darkness was present! Similarly, the impact of Rajasa and Tamasa gunas would be evident only against the Satvika Guna. Then only, there would be the possibility of ‘Atma Sakshatkaar’ or Self-Enlightenment. ‘Brahma Bhaava’ would occur only when one were not afraid of anybody and none were afraid of him; when a person became unable to do anything against anybody either by speech, thinking or action, then only Brahma Bhava became evident. When jealousy, or desire or greed were abolished then only ‘Brahmananda’ or bliss was experienced; when one distinguishes what was seen and heard then only a comparison would be possible and then only there could be a question of treating the situations discreetly. Unless ‘Duhkha’ (sorrow) and ‘Sukha’ (happiness) were experienced, where was the question of eqanimity! Similarly, comparisons would be possible between blame-praise, iron-gold, cold-heat, Artha (wealth)-Anartha (poverty), likes-dislikes and life-death; how could otherwise be possible to achieve Brahma-Bhava! King Janaka further said that Suka Muni had all the qualifications to accomplish Moksha, excepting the lack of awareness of the surroundings and the ‘Loukya’or worldly wisdom which too was essential to recognise Brahma Gyan; that could be understood only when illumination and darkness were clearly differentiated and that would be possible when Ashrama Dharma was practised and control of ‘Indriyas’ was secured just as water drops on Lotus leaf were in the ‘Samsara’ without being affected by the leaf! As King Janaka sought to convince Suka Muni, the latter returned to his father VedaVyasa quietly with an implicit approval of following the ‘Ashrama Dharma’ and enter the phase of Grihasta Ashrama!
            A highly delighted Veda Vyasa recited Vedas along with Suka Muni, there was a powerful sweep of wind which was recognised as a sign of Suka Muni’s Divya-drishti or Celestial Vision and Veda Vyasa explained to Suka Muni about Pravaha or the First of the flows of Seven Vayus- the ‘Prathama’ or the First Wind Flow between ‘Prithvi’ and ‘Aakash’. The second Vayu, viz. Aavaha would get created by the interaction of the ‘Rasa-Matras’ of Akaash and Vidyut (Sky and Lightening) which created thunders making huge sounds. Jeemutas would get created by the absorption of Sea water by Grahas or Planets like Sun and Moon. The Jeemutas would get converted as Parjanyas which in turn produce the third Vayu called Uduh and the latter would get interacted with massive clouds carrying collossal rain. The fourth Vayu Samvaha got created by hitting mountains. The high speed of the wind would uproot huge trees hitting ‘pralaya kaala’ type of clouds called Blaahak and the extremely swiftand frightening fifth Vaya called Vivah, as a result of which Celestial waters would rain torrentially in the upper worlds; that sixth Vayu would be created further known as Parivaha; this Vayu was considered as a highly Tatvika. The seventh and final Vayu called Paravaha was indeed the Prana Vayu at the termination of life. These seven Vayus represent the Sapta Marudganas, who were born of Devi Diti. The Paravaha Vayu was so powerful that it could even shake Himalaya Mountains. This was stated to be the ‘Nishwas’ or the exhaling of Bhagavan Vishnu and whenever the pace of Vishnu Nishwas increased, then there would be hurricanes on Earth! After Suka Muni obtained Divya drishti, Veda Vyasa described the Seven Forms of Vayu as a result of which, Suka Deva’s divya drishti was bestowed and Vyasa left Suka Muni to continue Swadhyayana of Vedas.
            Meanwhile, Maharshi Sanat Kumara arrived and provided his Instruction to Suka Deva about Tatwas and Moksha Sadhana. Maharshi prefaced his Upadesha stating that there was no better ‘Netra’(Vision) than ‘Vidya’or Learning; no better Truth than Tapasya or Meditation; no worse Sorrow than Desire; no better happiness than ‘Tyaga’ or Sacrifice. He said:
             Nityam krodhattapo rakshochhriyam rakshochha matsaraat,
            Vidyaam Maanaavamaana –bhyaamaatmaanam tu pramaadatah/
          Aanrushyamsyam paroh Dharmah Kshamaa cha paramam balam,
         Atmajnaanam parm jnaanam Satyam hi Paramam hitam/
(Human Beings should shield against anger with Tapas /meditation and against the feelings of ‘Maana’ (praises) and ‘Avamaana’(insults) with ‘Vidya’ (wisdom). Reversal of the mind-set of vindictiveness is by itself the highest Dharma. Forgiveness and tolerance are the greatest strength. Self-Realisation is the supreme Knowledge; and Truthfulness is the best tool of Action. Constant strife for acquisition/ possession is against the principle of a ‘Pandita’or a ‘Vidwan’whose basic trait is abandonment and detachment. Indifference leads to Self-Control, which leads to peace of mind and contentment; a feeling of satisfaction leads to happiness which is truly devoid of pulls and pressures of life and paves the route to ‘Mukti’!
            After obtaining the instructions of Veda Vyasa and Sanaka-Sanandana brothers, Suka Deva reached the top of Kailasha and after purifying himself externally and internally, commenced Yoga by Dharana and Samadhi, and gradually flew from the mountain-peaks to Vayu Mandal to various Lokas of Yaksha, Gandharva, Swarga, and Satya, before visioning Bhagavan Vishnu whom he eulogized in ecstasy as follows:
            ‘Shantam prasanna vadanam peeta kousheya vaasasam,
            Shankha chakragadaa Padmairmurti-madbhvibhu rupaasitam/
            Vaksthalasthyaa Lakshmyaa Kausthubhena viraajitam,
            Kati Sutra Brahma sutra katakaangad bhushitam/ 
            Bhraajatkirita valayam Manirnupura shobhitam,
            Dadarsha siddhinkaraih sevyamaana maharnisham/
           Tam drushta bhakti bhaavena trushtaava Madhusudanam,
           Namestey Vaasu Devaaya Sarva lokaika saakshiney/
           Jagadbeeja swarupaaya Purnaaya nibhrutaatmaney,
           Harye Vaasukisthaya Shweta dwipa nivaashiney/ 
            Hamsaaya Matsya rupaaya Varaaha tanu dhaariney,
           Nrisimhaaya Dhruvejyaja Sankhya yogeshwaraaya cha/
           Chatuh Sanaaya Kurmaaya Prithavey Swasukhaatmaney,
            Nabhoyaya Jagaddhaatrey Vidhaatrentakaraayacha/
            Bhargavendraaya Raamaaya Raaghavaaya Paraayacha,
           Krishnaaya Veda Kartrecha Buddha Kalki swarupiney/
           Chaturvyuhaaya Vedyaya Dhyeyaya Parama -atmaney,
           Nara Narayanaakhyaya Shipivishtaaya Vishnavey/
           Rutadhaamney Vidhaamnecha Suparnaya Swarochishey,
          Rubhavey Suvrutaakhyaya Sudhaanney chajitaya cha/
          Vishwarupaaya Vishwaaya Srishthisthityantakaariney,
          Yagnaaya Yagna bhoktrey cha Sthavishtaayaana verthiney/
          Aditya Soma netraaya Sahaojo balaaya cha,
          Eejyaaya Sakshineyjaaya Bahu seershonghri baahavey/
         Shrishaaya Shrinivasaaya Bakta Vashya  sharinginey, 
         Ashtaprakruthyadhishaaya Brahmanenanta Shaktaye/
         Brihadaaranya Vedyaaya Hrishikeshaaya Vedhasey,
         Pundarika Nibhakshaya Kshetrajnaaya vibhasiney/
Govindaya Jagat Karthrey Jagannadhaya Yoginey,
         Styaaya Satya sandhaaya Vaikuntha -yachutaayacha/
        Adhokshjaaya Dharmaya Vamanaya Tridhaatavey,
        Ghrutaarchishey Vishnavey tenantaaya Kapilaaya cha/
         Virinchiye Trikakrudey Rukyajussamarupiney,
         Eka Shringaya cha Suchishravasey Shaastrayonaye,
        Vrishakapaya Ridraaya Prabhavey Vishwakarmaney,
        Bhurbhuvah Swarupaya Daithagney Nirgunaayacha,
        Namaste paahi maameeha Sharanagatavatsala/.

(My salutations to you Vasudeva, the unique substantiation of the entire Universe; the ‘Bija Swarupa’or the Form of the Seed responsible for Creation; the Complete, Steady and Ever-lasting Supreme Soul; and the inimitabe occupant of Sweta Dwipa resting in ‘Yoga Nidra’on the Vasuki Serpent’s huge couch. You are the Forms of Hamsa, Matsya, Vaaraaha, Vaamana, and Nrisimha, as also the target of devotion by Dhruva. You are the epitome of Sankhya and Yoga disciplines; the reflections of Sanaka Brothers who were born with the Mission of prmoting Virtue. You were the Creator, Preserver and final Destroyer of the whole ‘Srishti’. You are the image of Nabhi Putra Rishabha Deva. The Avatars of Parashu Rama, Shri Rama, Sri Krishna, Veda Vyasa, Buddha and Kalki Deva are your own to vindicate Dharma and devastate the Evil.You excel as Balabhadra, Pradyuna and Aniruddha as also like Nara Narayana and Sipivisht - the Most Intelligent. You are the Yagna, its Karta’and ‘Bhokta and ‘Sthula’ and ‘Sukshma’ or the biggest and tiniest! Surya and Chandra are Your Eyes. You are the Ashta Prakritis viz.Bhumi, Jala, Agni, Vayu, Akasash, Mind, Buddhi, and Ahamkar (Ego); Brahma, the unending Shaktis and Parameshwara. You are the Kshetrajna, Govinda, Jagat Karta, Jagannatha, Yogi, Satya, Satya Pratigna, Vaikuntha, Achyuta, Adhokshaja, Dharma, Tridhatu, Tejopunja and RukYajur, Sama Vedas. You are the Forms of Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka and Swarloka. You are Nitya, Niranjana, Avyaya, and Akshara; Ishwara! I am under your protection!). Bhagavan Vishnu was happy with Shuka Muni’s steadfast devotion and blessed him to attain ‘Siddhis’ and facilities of movement all over the Universe like Vayu Deva and Surya Deva; he also instructed Suka Muni to go back to Veda Vyasa for further ‘Adhyana’ of Shastras and seek his further guidance till the final call to him from the mortal life.        
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