Essence Of
Varaha Purana


24    Concepts of ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion) and ‘Aradhana’ (Worship) Explained
After Sage Mahatapa explained to King Dharmapal about select Deities, their origin, brief procedure of worship as also the specific days appropiate of worship to the Deities, Devi Prithvi sought to know from Deva Varaha as to who said that ‘Bhav’ or feeling leads to ‘Sadhana’or practice; in other words, a seed helps to germinate a plant. Varaha Deva also clarified that wealth or ‘Jap’ (meditation) were not the suitable means of Realisation but ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion) would certainly be. Bhakti could be of various forms based on the ‘Kayak way’or Physical action such as fasting, one meal a day, or ‘Jagarans’ (or waking up through night) and so on; or the‘Manasic’ way such as observance of Truth, Non violence, ‘Asteyam’or non stealing, Brahmacharyam, Dharma Pravartana etc; or the‘Vachaka’ way including observance of silence, ‘Adhyayan’or reading Scriptures, ‘Kirtan’ (Singing Hymns) etc. In this context, Varaha Bhagavan cited an example of a great Brahmana ‘Tapsvi’named Aruni who was emerging from river after bathing and faced a ‘Vyagh’ (Hunter) with his arrows drawn in search of a kill. The Hunter had indeed decided to kill the Brahmin but changed his mind and instead saved the Brahman from a pouncing tiger nearby. In fact the tiger too got frightened by the loud and desperate shout of the Brahmin saying ‘Om Namo Narayana’. Suprisingly, the tiger died and out came a handsome male figure who was a King in his previous birth but was cursed by Brahmanas since he became arrogant thinking that he knew all the Scriptures known to all the Brahmanas put together. The curse was to be revesed when the tiger would hear a sincere chanting of Om Namo Narayana. The Vyagh who witnessed the chain of events became an instant convert from his hunting profession and begged of the Brahmana to reveal a way out from his erstwhile sinful way of life.Tapasvi Aruni blessed the Vyagh, directed him to perform a twin action of ‘Vrath’ (Worship) viz. refraining from eating cut and impure items and telling lies and left. As the Vyagh desired to at least eat dried leaves from trees, a shout from the Sky (Akashvani) barred from eating ‘Apavitru’or impure food! Thus the Vyagh could not eat anything remembering the instructions of his Brahmana Guru. Meanwhile Maha Muni Durvasa arrived and demanded good food like cooked rice/wheat and accompanying items as he was hungry. This led to further misery to the Vyagh and wondered as to how the situation could be saved. In despair he saw up to the sky and prayed to his Guru and as though the Guru responded and to his surprise there fell a golden container from the sky! The Vyagh requested Durvasa Muni to wait for a while to beg / borrow from the well- to- do men and women nearby. After returning with food, the Vyagh requested Sage Durvasa to wash his feet before eating. But Durvasa was too tired to go back to the river and there was no vessel to fetch water from. The Vyagh remembered the Guru again, and an idea was provided; he prayed to the River and brought it upto Durvasa’s feet! Durvasa was amazed and blessed the Vyagh to become a Sage, a Great Gyani and an erudite Veda expert to be named Satyatapa! Durvasa told him that the features and ‘Purva Gyan’ or past awareness of Vyagh were destroyed especially as he performed penance by fasts literally upto death and as such his earlier body resumed a ‘Tapomaya’ and pure body eversince. Satyapal desired to know the fine distinction of the two bodies. Durvasa corrected Satyapal that actually there were three such Physiques: the first body belonging to a cruel and sinful Vyagh, the second one of a ‘Dharmic and Vratayukth’- a Virtuous and penanceful- body and the third body would be of ‘Atindriya’ stage (viz. Adharmatmika, Dharmatmika and Dharma Dharmatmika). When a human is stated to be immune of Pancha Tanmatrikas, Pancha Gyanendriyas, and Pancha Bhutas, that would be the stage of ‘Brahma Tatva’! That Supreme Consciousness is of Pundarikaksha Himself. As this was explained by Durvasa, Satyapal had a genuine doubt that those who possessed adequate money could only intiate the process of Dharma through Yagnas and charity. Durvasa corrected him at once that money or charity are no doubt the initial steps depending on the affordability and willingness provided the Performers concerned are not indulging in display or show; but a devotee has more effective ways open in the Bhakti Marg, which invariably leads to the ‘Aradhana’ Marg. It was in this context that Sage Durvasa emphasised on devotion and worship by performing Vratas.

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