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Glories of Sage Kashyapa and Devi Aditi
इतिहासपुराणानि ताथाख्यानानी यानि च |
महात्मना च करितं श्रोतव्यं नित्यमेव च |
Lord Brahma is the universal father, the creator of the animate world. He gave rise to his 6 heart-born sons by the name Marichi, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulah & Kratu to procreate and expand his creation. The son of Marichi was Rsi Kashyapa. Daksha Prajapati established an alliance with Sage Kashyapa by wedding his 13 daughters to him. The wives of Kashyapa were: Aditi, Diti, Dhanu, Kala, Danayu, Singhika, Krodha, Praadha, Vishwa, Venata, Kapila, Manu and Kadru.
It is important to note that the names of these 13 wives of Kashyapa differ from one-scripture (example-Hari Vamsa) to another (example-Bhaktamal) owing to the Kalpa. Their names get reveled in a scripture with respect to a particular Kalpa (or time cycle). Therefore, noticing difference in their names signify that they existed in a particular Kalpa which may/may not be similar to that of other Kalpas. However, the central characters remain the same.
For example: Diti is the mother of Demons while Aditi is the mother of Devatas. This is common in all Kalpas. However the names of other wives and their roles in creation might differ slightly.
Kashypa’s wives bore offspring of various species to populate the world, thereby fulfilling the desire of Lord Brahma. The entire world was loaded with varied species ranging from birds, animals, reptiles, celestial gods, human beings, demons, etc. Hence, the primal cause of existence after Lord Brahma’s creation was Rsi Kashyapa. Devi Aditi, the mother of celestial Gods, had a special place in Sage Kashyapa’s heart. She is a devout wife. The couple is extremely dear to Bhagawan. They performed severe penance to attain parentship of the Lord Himself. Thus, Bhagawan incarnated as Vamana. It is due to their steadfast devotion that the unperceivable Lord, descended on Earth with His total magnanimity, appearing in their house for three times. There are no words to describe this pair as they clutched Bhagawan by their devotion in such a manner that the He had to revel His form to the world. In ancient times, the Lord would not reveal his form to people until they undertook severe austerities and perform penance for thousands of years, to satisfy him. But, it is the fruit of their (Kashyapa and Aditi)’s penance alone that mankind has been blessed with the pastimes of the Lord in His divine form, and not in His formless, Brahman form which does not display any attributes and remains stationary at all times. The Lord with form who appeared as their son in three lifetimes displays emotions, thereby enchanting the hearts of His parents and also calls out to His devotees to attain Him and His Divine Abode. Therefore, Kashyapa and Aditi play the role of parents by introducing Bhagawan to mankind in His pristine form.
Why does Bhagwan come as a Rsi or a Sage?
अनिमित्ता भागवती भक्ति सिद्धेर्ग़रियसी |
नारयत्याशु या कोशं निगीर्णमनलो यया |
It is Supreme Bhagawan alone who is the cause of all causes. Be it the cause of creation, maintenance or destruction, His mere wish evinces the various life processes and phenomena of the universe. He incarnates as Manu and Prajapati to maintain the Universe. His Rsi-incarnations (Sage) preach the Vedic teachings, by disclosing their life sketch as the ideal way of life. Indeed, Bhagawan incarnates to walk the path of Dharma that He Himself established, educating man to gain inspiration from Him and not from elsewhere. Veda-Vyas, Kapila, Nara-Narayana, etc are some incarnations of the Lord in the form of ascetics. These incarnations intend guide man to his life-destination.
Glories of Kapila, the son of Devahuti
In the cycle of the presiding deity Svayambhuva Manu, in the house of Rsi Kardama, his wife Devi Devahuti attained motherhood by welcoming the Lord in the form of Kapila Mahamuni. Kapila preached the precepts of Jnana and Bhakti first and foremost to his mother that transformed her gross body into a spiritual body. Through the Jnana discourse delivered by her son, Devahuti became one with the spirit and didn’t realize when her body crashed on the floor. The body dropped lifeless and gradually melted creating a stream that is a pilgrim spot today.
Excerpts from the teachings delivered by Kapila Muni to Devahuti
The excerpts of the lecture delivered by Kapila Muni to his mother is seen in Canto 3 of the Srimad Bhagvatham. It says: ‘To assimilate the knowledge of the soul it is necessary that one abandons body-consciousness and attachment to worldly activities, by realizing that the body is a conglomeration of blood, bones, flesh and other waste materials. A foolish man is unable to realize this fact and ends up expending his energy in maintaining his body and beautifying it. He gets into deep waters of material existence, where no helping hand can reach in order to save him from drowning. As a result, death occurs as an objectionable event, haunting the individual throughout the course of old-age and disease. Attachment towards our body creates fear of losing it at the time of death. But, death inevitable as it is, pulls the soul out of the decayed body and throws it into the domain of pain if man incessantly identifies with his body. Deep bodily attachment continues to torment the soul by throbbing various hellish experiences. Therefore, the soul endures relentless suffering, for a period over thousands of years. What we call pain and suffering on earth stands nullified when compared to the anguish experienced by the soul in the netherworlds.
It is due to the causeless mercy of Bhagawan alone that we are gifted with human body that is the key to unlock the mystery of material existence and suffering. Nevertheless, without spirituality, life is nothing but another hell. From the very embryonic stage the child undergoes the hardships of survival, in the mother’s womb. In childhood competing with others come into existence while in adolescence combatting with our own lustful tendencies pose a problem. Anger born out of dissatisfaction ruins our entire life. Old-age as an inevitable phenomena knocks our doors, directly attacking our physical structure, by wrinkling our skin and discoloring our hair complemented with disease of all kinds. At the mental, physical and emotional levels, man experiences trauma. What would be an end to this cyclical suffering? An end put to all this would be nothing but death. But death also sets fear in the minds of people. This is because man has ignorantly lived life, considering everything around as reality. Therefore, death is perceived as a danger to life by the ignorant beings who believe that it puts an end to life. But, when man steps out of this ignorant experience and becomes a mute spectator, observing the rise and fall of happiness and suffering in life, he disengages from this world which is nothing but an illusion plotted to estrange the jivatma from Bhagawan.
He automatically chants the holy names of the Lord to cleanse the lens of his heart and prays to witness the Divine Being and His pastimes. He keeps his mind fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord which is the supreme object of worship of even Gods. He remembers the divine abode of the Lord for that is his eternal home. The petty events of the world, including the fear of death shatter by the dint of such exalted activities. The rise of Bhakti marks the down fall of the six vices and other cosmic creations of Maya. The Bhakta must selflessly devote his life for the ultimate goal of life. Thus, the only criterion is that one must consciously avoid material distractions while on the path of spirituality.”
Abstaining from sinful activities and directing all energies towards the service of Bhagawan is the essence of Kapil Muni’s teachings, in brief. After delivering his mother to the divine abode, Kapila Muni proceeded towards Ganga Sagar-sangam where he rested in Samadhi and till date meditates in its waters. Thus, this place is also known after him as Kapila-sangam. Lord Kapila is one of the 12 Mahajanas. Mahajana literally translates as authority. The 12 Mahajanas are authorized by the Vedic scriptures as the perfect personalities to lead mankind towards Bhagawan.