The Past Life of Suvrata
Once, there lived a Brahmana, named Soma Sharma. His wife was Sumana.
They bore a son, Suvrata and by God’s grace, he was spiritually inclined.
Their son brought great prosperity to the household.
Now, in his earlier life, Suvrata was born in a royal clan.
Known as Prince Dharmangada, in his former life, he excelled in devotion just like in this lifetime.
Hence, he often lost himself in contemplation as he performed spiritual practices or Sadhana.
He spent his time and energy in the meditation of the Lord.
Whenever he interacted with his friends, he addressed them by the names of Lord Rama, Mukunda, Hari, and Govinda, although their parents named them differently.
Such was his practice.
Also, He used to call his friends thus, “Come, Hari, Come Giridhar, Come Rama, let us all play together.”
Whether he stayed at home or outside, whether he rode on a horse or played with his friends, during the course of all activities, he had Darshanam (Holy Communion) of the Lord.
So, whether he saw a blade of grass, a piece of wood, or a flower, he would only see the Lord in everything surrounding him.
While witnessing nature he would lose himself in Samadhi (deep meditative state).
He learned the art of singing in his youth.
His melodious voice glorified the Lord.
In all his endeavors, pleasing and satisfying the Lord were his prime objectives.
Excerpts from the poem of Suvrata
His songs would go something like this, “The One on whom the knowers of the Veda place their thought, whose every cell carries millions of universes, I am at the mercy of that Govinda who reduces to ash the many million sins of the embodied beings.
I am surrendered to Him alone.
The one who is the single owner of all the Abodes, visible and invisible.
He is the one who is the Abode of all Abodes, I bow at the Lotus feet of that Supreme Being.
The one who is the repository of all exemplary qualities, the one who possesses infinite strength, I take shelter of that Supreme Being.
To swim through the causeless ocean of cause and effect, I take shelter of the divine feet of the Lord.
He who is the swan of the lake-like hearts of devotees is my Lord Sriman Narayana.
The one whose birth and pastimes are unfathomable, whose glories can never be sung with a million mouths, the one who destroys the evil beings, I pray in all humility at the colossal feet of that Lord known as Sriman Narayana.
Glorifying Lord Narayana
The one who is the darling moon during the night of misfortune, and who destroys all the darkness caused by such misfortune, defining Dharma for the protection of noble souls, to that embodiment of Absolute Truth I pray and offer myself.
He who is like the sun, whose remembrance heralds the bloom of the knowledge lotus, I meditate on that Jagadguru (teacher of the universe) who has Sri Krishna as one of His names.
My Lord is revered by the beings of all Lokas (subtle worlds).
He is Ananda-Kanda (a bliss-repository of all sweetness), the sweet ambrosia.
Thus, I sing and praise Him with all my heart.
He is unattainable to the one who goes against the injunction of Shastra.
I lie at the feet of that Supreme Being.
That prince, who became Suvrata in his next incarnation played with the boys dancing and rejoicing with his friends.
He sung glories of the Lord, perennially attached to such play.
When he engaged in such divine play he forgot sleep, hunger, and thirst.
As Suvrata the same play continued.
His mother would call out for him and say “Son you must be hungry.
Come and have your meal.”
Suvrata would reply, “Mother, the glory of Sri Hari is nectarine.
I am drinking to my heart’s content the nectar of His holy name.
Hence, I do not feel the pangs of hunger.”
Sometimes mother would forcibly bring Suvrata to the dining place.
Suvrata describes everything as Brahman
The little boy would stare at the food and say “Anna (food) is Brahman (the Lord)”
The soul’s food is verily Brahman.
This Brahman-like food makes the soul-like Brahman happy and content.
That was the deep level of consciousness that Suvrata attained.
He would drink water after his meal and repeat “The one (Sriman Narayana) who lies on Kshirasagara (क्षीरसागर Causal ocean, also milk ocean).
He would mentally offer vermillion, turmeric, and other auspicious items and with mind absorbed in divine contemplation, the little Suvrata would slip into sleep.
This was the result of his commitment and practice of God-remembrance.
This was his Sadhana as he attained maturity.
When he attained his prime, he gave up the convenience of his home and settled down at the southern bank of the holy river, Narmada.
Description of Lord Lakshmi-Narayana
He performed intense austerities lasting for a 100 years.
Seeing his devotion and surrender, Lord Narayana appeared before him along with Mother Laxmi.
That was a wonderful sight.
The Lord’s yellow garments shone in splendor.
Bedecked with ornaments and possessed the Shankh, Gada, Padma (conch, mace, and lotus), the Lord of Luxuries stood before Him.
His fourth hand rested in the Abhaya Mudra (A position of the Lord’s hand that grants complete safety and fearlessness to the devotee).
Suvrata offered Dandavat Pranams to the Lord (lay flat with his body facing the ground).
He began to lose consciousness.
The Lord lovingly addressed Suvrata.
“Son, get up. Let all auspiciousness be with you.
See, I am that very Lord Sri Krishna who has appeared before you.
Ask for a boon.” the Lord said.
Hearing the mellifluous voice of the Supreme Being, Suvrata got up and drenched himself in the vision of the Lord.
His entire body drowned in the ocean of Ananda (divine bliss) and he had goose-bumps all over.
Eyes flooded with tears of humility and joy, Suvrata began composing himself.
Suvrata Explains the Nature of the Material Universe
He prayed to the Lord thus, “Janardan (protector of people), this Samsara (the ocean of material world) is extremely fearful.
There are many mammoth waves of misfortune on this ocean.
There are many other waves of delusion that blind man.
I am a fallen one and trapped in this material existence.
There are black clouds of Karma all over this ocean and torrential rains of sorrow flood this world.
There is thunder and lightning of sins that reverberate fearfully over this ocean.
A night of attachment and helplessness covers this ocean and they add to the woes.
I do not know how to escape this predicament.
I am in a very fallen state.
Kindly lend your hand and get me out of this fearful ocean.
There are different types of trees of despair that are thrown recklessly and all chances of I being smashed exist.
My heart, on the other hand, O Mukunda, is consumed by a fearfully burning pyre of worries.
Kindly save me.
I am being surrounded by these urchin trees that entrap me in this Mayic universe.
Indeed, the root of these oceanic trees is Maya.
The leaves of these trees are attachment to the home, family, and society.
Many times, I tried climbing these trees with the confidence that now I may arrest them.
But, I continue to fall and fail, time and again.
I am drowning into the ocean by shocks given to me by these floating trees and I am gasping for breath.”
Saying thus, Suvrata describes the material world as a reservoir of Fear, Pain, Suffering and Attachment.
What boon did Suvrata seek from Lord Narayana?
“Oh Lord, if you are happy with me, bless me that not for a moment I lose your remembrance.
Let me not forget you even for a single moment during the course of infinite births.
This is the greatest boon I can ask for. I seek nothing else.
If you are really happy with me, take me and my parents along with you to your eternal abode.
That shall be towards my ultimate satisfaction.”
So, the Lord said “Tathastu (So be it”) and disappeared.
Therefore, following this event, Suvrata along with his mother Sumana and father Soma Sharma ascended to the Lord’s abode in this very material body.
So goes the story.
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