Tuesday 10 July 2007

Brahma’s Pride

A family came from a distant place to seek solace from the grief of losing six sons; the last child had recently died. As though Bhagavan had inspired the question, a devotee asked about using pranayama and other practices to prolong life to enable them to become realised souls, jnanis.

Bhagavan gently replied, “Yes, people do live long if they do these practices, but does a person become a jnani, a realised soul, by living long? A realised soul has really no love for his body. For one who is the embodiment of bliss, the body itself is a disease. He will await the time to be rid of the body.”

A devotee said, “Some people say we have lived for fifty years, what more is needed? As though living so long were a great thing!” “Yes,” said Bhagavan with a laugh, “that is so. It is a sort of pride and there is a story about it.”


IT SEEMS THAT in the olden days, Brahma once felt proud of the fact that he was long-lived. He went to Vishnu and said, “Do you not see how great a person I am! I am the oldest living person (chiranjeevi).” Vishnu told him that was not so and that there were people who had lived much longer than he. When Brahma said that could not be, since he was the creator of all living beings, Vishnu took him with him to show him people older than him.

They went along until, at a certain place, they found Romasa Mahamuni. Vishnu asked him his age and how long he expected to live. “Oho!” said Romasa, “you want to know my age? All right, listen then and I will tell you. This era (yuga) consists of so many thousands of years. All these years put together make one day and one night for Brahma. It is according to these calculations that Brahma’s life is limited to one hundred years. When one such Brahma dies, one of the hairs of my body falls out. Corresponding to such deaths as have already occurred, several of my hairs have fallen out, but many more remain. When all my hairs fall out, my life will be over and I shall die.”

Very much surprised at that, they went on to Ashtavakra Mahamuni, an ascetic with eight distortions in his body. When they told him about all the above calculations, he said that when one such Romasa Mahamuni dies, one of his own distortions would straighten, and when all the distortions had gone, he would die. On hearing this, Brahma was crestfallen. Similarly, there are many stories. If true realization is attained, who wants this body? For a Realised Soul who enjoys limitless bliss through realization of the Self, why this burden of the body?

No comments: