Importance of surrender in the eyes of Sri Rama
There is a story in the Ramayana where Vali fights a rakshasa inside the cave. Believing that Vali has been slain by the rakshasa, Sugriva blocks the cave mouth with a big rock and goes back to the kingdom of Kishkinda and takes over as king. But as soon as Vali returns to the kingdom, Sugriva is happy to see him and immediately steps down from the throne, to handover his all to Vali. But Vali is overpowered with suspicion and falsely concludes that it was Sugriva’s plan to usurp the kingdom and it was because of greed for the kingdom that he had tried to block Vali within the cave in an attempt to get him killed. This was the gross misconception of Vali. When Vali was shot by an arrow by Lord Rama, he questioned the Lord about his own wrong-doing. The Lord replied “You let down your brother who surrendered at your feet and was ready to relinquish everything that you had when you returned to the kingdom and the second reason is that I had to safeguard the interests of Sugriva who had surrendered at my feet.” This is the value of Surrender in the eyes of the Lord.
What is Sama for Yajna?
The three Vedas are named Rik, Yajus and Sama. The Rik consists of invocation of Devi and Devatas with mantras. Yajus consists of the rituals that are used from conducting the Yajna while Sama consists of the singing of the Rik Mantras striking a musical note to please the Devatas. A combination of Rik, Yajus and Sama is found in the Atharva Veda. Thus the next question by the Yaksha was, what is Sama in a Yajna? To this Yudhishthira replied “The true Yajna is that through which Atma is known. For such a Yajna or sacrifice the Prana or the life-breath is the Sama. In such a Yajna the Prana alone is most important that needs to be sacrificed as we endeavor to know the Atman. Thus for the Atman the life-breath represents Sama.
What is Yajus and Rik for Yajna?
This was the next question put forth by the Yaksha. To this, Yudhishthira replied that it is the mind that is Yajus for Yajna. Without the mind, there cannot be any implementation. It is the Rik Mantras that hold the Yajna. When Hanumanji Maharaja first met Sri Rama, he spoke very sweetly to the Lord at the foothills of the Rishyamukha hill. Observing the various oratory capabilities of Hanumanji Maharaja, Sri Rama concluded that Hanumanji Maharaja must have been an adept in the three Vedas. Such were his capabilities. The one who has mastered Rigveda attains modesty or humility. With humility, one attains the necessary qualification to hold knowledge that one receives from superior teachers. Once knowledge is obtained, it translates into earning. Only with the help of this earning one can execute Dharma. When one executes Dharma, one shall attract happiness. This is the process. When one becomes adept in Yajurveda, one becomes capable of holding knowledge for a very long time, it blesses the practitioner with unfailing memory.
For a hard-worker or a man who does his duties what is the merit?
The answer to the above question is given by Yudhishthira. He says that rain alone is the merit for a person who does his duties. This is a question of very deep significance and it relates to every human entity. The Lord has given a body to every human, it is called Kshetra or land. The body is compared to the land. In a piece of land, the farmer tills the land and sows good seeds. Hence the farmer is the hard-worker and having sown good seeds, rain is the merit for his hard-work. He is blessed with a rich harvest. Similarly in the land like body, a person has to sow good seeds of high ideals, pulling out the weeds of negativity, sloth and postponement. When an individual works with his body to elevate the body and mind, he is served with the rain like grace of the Supreme Being and through this rain, man shall be lifted into the domain of immortality or liberation. Just like a knife is used to cut vegetables and not kill people, fire is used to cook food and not burn houses, money is used for bringing about welfare of the people rather than corrupting society into unfair means, if one utilizes one’s body and mind for a larger purpose, the rain of the Lord’s grace shall prove to be of immense value to such a being.
Relation between Grace and purification of the mind
There are some preconditions for life to prosper. Lord Krishna explains to Arjun that to be alive, one requires food grains. To make food grains available, the farmers require rainfall. For rainfall to happen, man has to perform Nitya Anushtanam ( नित्य अनुष्ठानम daily duties) , that is he has to perform Yajna and should follow all his duties as prescribed in the Shastra. This is the cycle of creation that Sri Krishna talks about. There are some conditions for Grace to flow into one’s life. One has to first purify one’s mind with Sadhana and then, when grace flows, the purified mind shall get elevated to the state of Atma rati and one becomes eligible for liberation. However this does not mean that when the mind gets purified, Grace can be forced upon it. However even if grace flows and the mind remains sullied, it cannot be elevated and grace trickles down just as water trickles by the side of an overturned vessel without getting into it because the mouth of the vessel sticks to the ground. Hence purification of the mind is a necessary condition and yet not a sufficient condition for liberation. Similarly Grace is a necessary condition and singularly, not a sufficient condition for liberation. What lies in the hands of man, is his duty to keep the mind purified at all times so that when the Lord opens the flood-gates of grace, the mind immediately attains the heightened state of liberation.
What can make one survive the tests of time, under all conditions?
Maintaining the cows and worshipping them at all times is the only way that Dharma can be maintained. This alone shall maintain one’s livelihood, said Yudhishthira. When one maintains a relationship with, cows, and one’s ability to survive the odds of the world is increased manifold. The cows represent the heart of Lord Krishna. In one of his compositions the Azhvar of South India says that for me liberation is no big deal. Although I was not born in Gokula or at a time when Sri Krishna was born, I know of a plant in Vrindavana which belongs to the family of a plant that was licked by the Lord, when He took the form of a cow and roamed around in the entire region of Braja. This was the certainty of liberation. This is the importance that Lord Krishna gives to cows. Hence maintaining cows, serving them with sincerity is also an easy means to attract the Grace of the Lord.