Sanatkumara’s upadesha to Shuka

Brahmaputra Sanatkumara Paramarshi with the intention to guide Shuka Paramarshi arrived at his hermitage. When Shuka Muni saw the radiant eternal Sage, he rose up and offered him his pranaams.


Bhagawan Sanatkumara asked, “Mahabhaga! Vyāsaputra! What are you doing?”


To which Shuka replied, “Brahmakumara! I am at this moment studying the Vedas. I have had the privilege of your darshan today which is so rare. I wish to ask you about a subject which will be instrumental in the quest for moksha. Please enlighten me on this, I beg you.”


Bhagawan Sanatkumara replied, “Brahman! There is no eye equal to knowledge, there is no penance equal to satya, there is no sorrow that is equal to malice and there is no happiness equal to renunciation. Stay far away from sinful deeds, always engage in good, adopt the demeanour of saintly persons and abide by the highest moral conduct – this is the medium for choicest fortunes.


Where there is no possibility of happiness, one who becomes attached after obtaining the human body will drown in delusion. Connection with subjects is in the form of sorrow and it will never deliver one from anguish. A man who is attached will be of flighty nature and delves deep into the expansive trap of delusion. One who falls into the trap of this delusion will only experience grief both in this world as well as in the heavenly worlds.


One who seeks benediction should do his best to keep both krodha and kāma under control as these two blemishes are always eager to destroy the fortunes of man. Man should overcome krodha through tapasya, jealousy through wealth, reputation – insult through knowledge and protect himself from delusion. The highest dharma is to forsake cruel behaviour. Kshama is the greatest force. Atmajnāna is the supreme knowledge and satya is the most beneficial means. The most excellent thing is to speak the truth but speaking in the benefit of one is greater than satya. I believe truth to be in that which is in the best interest of all the beings. One who has given up the intention to start new actions and works, one who has no expectations, one who does not collect any items and one who has renounced everything is called a scholar and learned.


One who keeps his sensory organs under control and experiences matters of sensory activities without any attachment, one’s whose inner organs are always peaceful, one who is unperturbed and focussed on the Supreme Goal and one who remains separate despite the association with the body and the sensory organs will cut all ties quickly and attain the supreme bliss.


Mune! One whose vision doesn’t fall on any being, one who does not touch another or have any conversation with anyone will attain great fortune. Do not harm any being. Have a friendly disposition towards all beings. Do not have hate and malice towards anyone after taking a human birth. One who is a seeker of ātmajnāna and who keeps his sensory organs under control should not collect items. He should be fully contented. He should forsake expectations and fickleness. This will help one accomplish supreme benediction.


One who has forsaken all worldly pleasures will never plunge into grief and hence, it is necessary for each and every being to forsake attachment to worldly pleasures. One who wants to win the invincible Paramātma should become a tapasvi, jitindriyamananasila, patient and be unattached towards all matters. A Brahman who is unattached towards all matters relating to the gunas and is always in solitude will quickly attain the supreme bliss. Mune! One who deems solitude as bliss despite living with people who think that happiness is with women can be understood as one who is content in jnanānanda.


One who is completely contented in jnanānanda will not grieve. A being is always subservient to actions; he becomes a devatha when good deeds are done, one attains a human birth on the execution of both good and bad deeds and takes the form of birds, animals and lowly beings when he or she engages in only bad deeds.


The being becomes a victim of several types of anguish and sorrow as well as jara mrtyu (old age and death) in those births. In this manner a person who takes birth in this universe will cook in the fire of torment. There is no need to either collect or accept various items but a great flaw manifests from collecting. A silk-worm falls into attachment because of its propensity to collect. A man who becomes attached to woman, son and others will undergo anguish similar to how an aged elephant gets trapped in the marshes and experiences agony.


Just like how a fish comes out of a great body of water and struggles for breath, similarly one who falls into the trap of affection will have to bear immense pain and you can observe this in them.


Family, son, woman, body and aggregation of items are all extrinsic and unreal. What is yours here? Only punya and paap. Meaning is that the help of knowledge, actions, chastity and extremely comprehensive knowledge is taken to attain the Paramātma. When the Paramātma is attained and a man is liberated, then it means the fulfilment of artha. The attachment of a man who lives in a village towards worldly matters is equal to the rope that binds him. A saintly person will cut that rope and advance towards the pursuit of the object of human life but an evil man will not be able to cut it. This universe is like a river. Its form is the banks, mind is its ode, touch is the island and taste is the torrent.


Smell is this river’s mud, speech and words is the water and the insurmountable that is in the form of heavens is the ghat (quay). One can cross this river with the help of this human body that is comparable to a boat. Kshama is the paddles of the oars and dharma is the anchor that keeps the boat steady. It is with the help of the quick wind that is in the form of renunciation that one can overcome attachment to worldly matters and cross this river.


Therefore, you desist from actions, be liberated from all types of bondage, become omniscient, ever victorious and become devoid of accomplishments, sentiment and shortage. Many wise persons through the strength of their patience and tapasya have erased all bondages and connections and attained liberation that gives eternal bliss.


Shukadev! Shastras sets aside grief and anguish. It is a bestower of peace and benediction. One should hear the Shastras to destroy sorrow and to attain excellent intelligence. A man becomes blissful and will progress when he receives it. There are thousands of sorrows and hundred types of fears. They carry weight everyday only on foolish persons. They do not affect wise persons.


A niggardly person will only lament over the union of undesirable things and the separation of desirable items. An item that got lost or hidden in the past should be not thought about because one who thinks about its traits with respect will never be free of attachment. Where there is a tendency for increased attachment, there one should identify its flaws and understand that it only increases the undesirable. One will develop dispassion quickly when they think like that. One who grieves over matters that have occurred in the past will not attain dharmaartha and glory. He will experience sorrow for its absence. All the beings will attain union and separation from excellent materials. Sorrow does not come for any one item.


One who grieves over a person who has passed away or a belonging that has been destroyed will only attain one sorrow after another. In this manner, he will have to experience two disasters. If either mental or physical discomfort arises and no solution comes forth to get relief from it, then one should not contemplate about it. The best medicine to set aside grief and anguish is not to keep thinking about it over and over. It will not reduce by contemplation but in fact only increase. Therefore, it is best to destroy mental anguish through reflection and meditation and bodily discomfort through medicine. This is possible only through the influence of shastrajnāna.


It is inadvisable to cry like children when one becomes anguished. All these – form, youthfulness, life, collection of wealth, health and loved ones are illusory. A wise person should not become attached to these. It is inappropriate to express grief when faced with an obstacle. If some solution or answer appears to evade that difficulty, then one should set aside grief and do what is required.


There is no doubt that sorrow exceeds the expectation of happiness in one’s life and the sorrow of old age and death are immense and therefore, redeem your ātma from that. The bodily and mental illnesses are like the sharp-edged arrows released from a rigid bow of a brave man causing great harm. The destructible body of one who is afflicted with ambition, drowning in sorrow and helpless is getting destroyed every moment. As the torrents of the rivers move only forward and does not go backward, similarly one by one, night and day, the lifespan of man is being snatched. If the fruits of the actions done by a man were not dependent, then he would do as he liked when he liked.


Great, patient, clever and intelligent persons have seen the fruits of their actions not materializing and those bereft of virtues, foolish and lowly persons are seen with all their desires fulfilled without the blessings of anyone. There are some beings who rejoice in harming others and continue to deceive the world but sometimes one sees those kinds of people also happy. There are so many who do not do any work but sit quietly and yet wealth and prosperity come to them on its own but there are those who toil hard and yet do not get their heartfelt wishes. In all this a man’s prarabdha is the driving force.


See, sperms are produced elsewhere and create a child somewhere else. Sometimes, it is competent to reach the womb and impregnate a woman and sometimes it doesn’t happen. So many people endeavour to accomplish this with the intention to have sons and grandsons but yet they do not have any child and so many think that their child is like a snake filled with anger and remain always in fear of them and yet they have a child who is everlasting and it would appear that he has manifested himself from the heavenly worlds on his own.


How many wombs are there, where the woman and husband pray to the devathas and do tapaha in the hope of obtaining a child and attain as well and after spending ten months in the mother’s womb turns out to be a disgrace. There are so many sons who have been born because of good acts and upon their birth become entitled to the inestimable wealth and food grains of his father and enjoys the bounteous pleasures.


One who gives up contemplation of both happiness and sorrow will attain the eternal Brahman and experience the Paramānanda. There is lot of difficulty in the acquisition of wealth, there is no happiness in protecting it, there is tribulation in spending it and therefore, it must be understood that wealth in every state is a begetter of sorrow and one should not contemplate when it gets exhausted.


A man who aggregates wealth and exceeds his initial expectations will not be content and will die trying to earn more wealth. Hence, wise persons are always content. The end of aggregation is severance and death is the end of life. There is no end to ambition and thirst. Contentment is supreme happiness. Hence, wise persons declare that contentment is the superlative wealth in this world. Life is passing by. It does not rest even for a moment. When one’s body is itself illusory, then how can any other item in this world be considered to be real?


A man who contemplates on Paramātma beyond the mind that exists within all beings will attain sakshatkara of the Paramapada at the end of his life crossing over sorrow. Like how a dissatisfied cow goes in search of fresh grass in the forest and is suddenly attacked by a tiger, similarly a discontented man searching for pleasures will be taken away by death. Therefore, one must think of way to be rid of this sorrow.


One who sets aside unhappiness and does sādhana and is not attached to any vice will attain mukti. One ought to experience the pleasures of sabdasparsha, rupa, rasa and gandha only at the appropriate time irrespective of whether they are wealthy or poor. Nothing remains in them after experiencing it. There is no unhappiness before the union of two beings. When the separation of the dear one happens after the union, then everyone experiences grief and therefore, a man of discrimination should always remain seated in his true state and never grieve.


One should protect the genitals and abdomen through resoluteness, protect hands and feet through the eyes, protect the eyes and ears through the mind and protect the mind and speech through sadvidya. The one who is of peaceful disposition and sets aside attachment for both venerable and other persons is only happy and a wise person.


One who is enamoured with Adhyatma Vidya, is disinterested, stays far away from attachment to worldly pleasures and always moves around alone is only happy. When a man sees happiness as sorrow and sorrow as happiness, then even intelligence, good conduct and the pursuit of the object of one’s life cannot protect him.


Therefore, a man must endeavour as per his disposition to attain jnāna for one who attempts will never plunge into grief.”


Saying thus, Bhagawan Sanatkumara concluded his discourse and took leave of Vyāsaputra Shukadeva who then sought permission from his father Vyāsa Maharshi to leave for Kailasa Parvat to realise his true state.


[Excerpt from Narada Purana]

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