Which type of benefits would you go for?
Why should we seek liberation?
People wonder why the Lord never grants one happiness once and for all. Why is it that most of life is lost in worrying and groping in sorrow? The Lord says “Given that man wallows most of his life in grief and sorrow and yet he does not care about the Lord or look forward to the Lord. Although, there is a small population who still look forward to the Lord, to question Him, regarding life and sorrow in life. It is to be known that the Lord is the very base of Life, He is the middle and He is at the very end. Material life is just a small stop, like the transit station, in the midst of a long journey. Given the flimsy nature of man, He never remembers the Lord even during sadness and does all that he can, to ignore and neglect the Supreme Being. One can imagine the state of man if happiness were to be only given to him to the total exclusion of grief or sadness. It is obvious that not even one man shall remember God, if happiness were to stay with him for long. This will go against the law of balance in the universe. Thus, Lord introduces sorrow or grief, as a result of past Karmas of the individual. It is to be understood that such sorrow is also a result of Supreme grace on His part, so that man takes a few steps backwards and contemplates about the purpose of life. Maybe in such moments, his deeper intelligence maybe direct him towards the highest Reality, the Supreme Lord. At least in times of sorrow, man may yearn for liberation and move towards God. There are several souls who fear for their next life expecting it to be worse than the current one and hence seek liberation. Among the miniscule population who turn to God, a major population of it wants liberation to escape the fearful material world even without realizing the highest position that liberation can grant, as extolled in the Dharma Shastra.
Prahalad Maharaja admiring the Lord in the midst of danger
Prahalad Maharaja had reached an inner state of certainty about the Lord. He had no doubts about the Lord deserting him ever, even for a moment. This was his firm inner resolve and conviction. Namazhvar, the great Azhvar says, When Prahalad Maharaja was being consigned to the fire by his own father Hiranyakashyipu, the child Prahalad was happy to embrace it. The child had heard through Shastra that one of the Lord’s form is “Jyoti” (ज्योति Brilliant Light). Happy to meet this form of the Lord the child Prahalad embraces Him, with both his hands. He was protected by the Fire form of the Lord. Next he was fed with a very powerful poison Halahala. The child was excited to see the blueness of the poison and remembered Sri Krishna’s colors and drank it, thinking the poison to be the form of Krishna Himself. Next he was offered at the foot of an elephant. In this state he remembered Gajendra, the elephant -devotee of the Lord and the elephant stood silently before Prahalad. When Prahalad was taken to the top of the mountain to be pushed, he remembered the great mountain Goverdhana which the Lord lifted for the protection of the Brajawasis (ब्रजवासी Residents of Vrindavana).
Decide to take the Archiradi Margam
Through this example the Azhvar recommends people to live a life enriched by elevated thoughts where the Lord is invoked at all times. One has to train oneself to remember the Lord even in the most adverse times. This is true spiritual training. One only has this life, right now, which is going to end in death. One should always contemplate of taking the perfect “Archiradi Margam” (अर्चिरादि मार्ग Path that is lit up, taking us to Vaikuntha) and hence try to locate the Lord and his devotees at all times of the day. Only such an elevated thought process will make it possible to light up the perfect path that leads to the unassailable abode of Vaikuntha.
What is Adharma (अधर्म Inappropriate) for a Kshatriya
This was a question that the Yaksha raised to Dharma Putra, Yudhishthira. To this the king said, “A true Kshatriya never forsakes the one who takes refuge under him.” An anecdote in this regard will be useful. At the time when Vibheeshana approached Lord Sri Rama to surrender, the Vanara Camp which included Sugriva, Angada, Nala and Neela opposed the decision of the Lord to accept Vibheeshana and warned him against the benign demon Vibheeshana. The Lord addressed Sugriva and said “Being a Vanara do you not know about accepting the one who surrenders at your feet?” Now Sugriva wondered “What is the connection between my being a Vanara and accepting some surrendered soul?” To convince the Vanara Sugriva, Sri Rama recounts an anecdote.
The Tale known as Kapotokhyanam (कपोतोख्यानम).
This tale is famous in Shastra as Kapotokhyanam (कपोतोख्यानम). The tale contains a man, a monkey and a tiger. Once a man was being chased by a tiger. To escape the tiger, the man climbs up a nearby tree only to find a man eating monkey seated just behind him on the tree. The monkey told the man, since you have come to my home, you are my guest, and you shall be safe. No harm shall befall you. The night progressed and the monkey went to sleep. The man was still awake as the tiger waited patiently below the tree. The tiger said “Oh man, why do you risk yourself. Do not trust the monkey. I will go away. But the monkey is free to eat you up. You do one thing, push the monkey down and I will eat him up and release you from my fear. The man turned out to be worse than the tiger and he said, what the tiger says makes sense and so he pushed the monkey down. As soon as it hit the ground, the monkey stood up, alert. It did not take time for him to realize what had transpired. The tiger now changed party and addressed the monkey, He said, I do not like monkey flesh. You have been cheated by the man. Go up and push the man down. You know he let you down. The monkey, got back to the tree top in a jiffy. The man was trembling with fear. He asked the monkey, are you going to hand me over to the tiger? Are you going to kill me? To this the monkey said, I do not care what you did to me. I only remember that you had approached me in surrender and I will only go with that. It is my duty to protect you even if it costs my life and the monkey assured the man and asked him to renounce all fear. Sri Rama, after narration of this story addresses Sugriva “If a mere monkey is so committed to the surrendered one, is it fair on my part to forsake Vibheeshana? Is it fair for you to forsake Vibheeshana, knowing well that the monkey of this incident belongs to your clan?” Dharma is to protect the surrendered one, even if it means giving up one’s own life for the sake of protecting the other. Even if an enemy falls at one’s feet, it becomes one’s responsibility to protect the supplicant. This is Dharma proper. Sri Rama says even if one were to falsely claim to be one’s friend, such a friend should never be forsaken.