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Part I MYTHS-Sect.2 Anec.1 &2

From: Nutech (
Date: Sat May 02 1998 - 09:28:43 PDT



NOTE : The first five episodes are from the Upanishads and the others
are from Puranas and Itihasas. We have offered our comments under each
as best as we have understood. The author will be beholden to anyone who
may like to supplement or even rebut so that a clearer understanding
could emerge.
Anbil Ramaswamy
1. The power of Omnipotence ( Yakshabrahmam)

During one of the fights between Devas and Asuras (Angels and Demons),
the Devas won a decisive victory over the Asuras.Intoxicated by the
victory, the Devas thought that it was due to their own prowess that
they had won the battle and were very much puffed up with pride. To
teach them a lesson, Brahman ( God) appeared before them in the form of
a Yaksha. The Devas could not make out who it was. They deputed Agni
(the firegod) to find out. When he approached the Yaksha, Yaksha asked
who he was and what powers he had. Agni replied that he was Agni, also
known as Jatavedas
(one who knows all that happens) and that he could burn down anything.
The Yaksha threw before Agni a straw and asked him to burn it. However
hard he tried, Agni could not burn the straw. He returned crestfallen
and reported his failure. Then, the Devas sent Vayu ( windgod). When the
Yaksha asked the same question, Vayu answered that he was Vayu also
known as Matariswan and that he could blow off everything. Yaksha asked
him to blow off the straw. Vayu could not even move it in spite of his
best efforts and returned to report his failure. Finally, the Devas
requested Indra ( their master) himself to go and find out. By the time
Indra could reach the place, the Yaksha had disappeared. In his place, 
stood Umadevi who told Indra that the Yaksha was none other than Brahman
by whose might only they could succeed in their fight against the demons
and advised that the entire credit goes to Brahman without whom they
could do nothing.

The story reveals the power of omnipotence of God to show that ' Not a
blade of grass moves except by His grace'. And, inculcates a sense of
humility in the face of fortune and how it is foolish to claim credit
for oneself for anything good or pleasurable. 

When there is a fire or flood or some devastation due to natural
calamities, we are prompt to call it 'an act of God'. We would like to
appropriate ( or misappropriate)  to ourselves the credit for anything
pleasant or successful, poor God being ignored, if not totally
forgotten. Even sex which was taboo in decent company is being bandied
about unabashedly. But God has become 'unspeakable' and even
'unthinkable' in the company of pseudo-intellectuals except when they
need a scapegoat to peg our dismay, perhaps because God is the one- the
only one who would bear being denigrated with impunity, who can tolerate
uncomplainingly and without a demur all the insults and ignominies
hurled at him. 

In reality, however, the reverse is true. If we ponder over events a
little dispassionately, we will realize that our discomfiture  are more
often than not the result of our own actions and the undesirable
situations we find ourselves in are the consequences of our own misdeeds
as understood by the term 'Karma'. The extenuating factors that bale us
out of such critical moments are provided by the invisible saving grace
of God whom we seek to despise.

The lesson is that we should learn to accept everything as ordained by
God or in the alternative own responsibility for both good and bad and
not blame others (or God) for our failures.

2. The power of Omniscience ( Dialogue between preceptor and disciple)

A disciple asks his preceptor after observing the wayward functioning of
his own senses karmendriyas and gnanendriyas and manas over which he
does not have control.

"By whose will (Sankalpa) and instrument my mind gets attached to
sensual objects and acts the way it does? The senses cannot act without
being directed by a sentient being; It is a fact that even though I am a
sentient being, I am not able to direct my senses to act on the right
lines. Hence, my doubt is that there should be some force controlling
and directing the senses other than myself. What is that force? What is
that power? " 
The Guru replies " None of the senses can comprehend this force; None of
the Gods can comprehend this power"

The disciple asks   "If none can comprehend this force - then how can
any being attain Moksha (liberation) since it is said in the Vedas that
only that  soul can  reach  Moksha which is capable of comprehending
this Brahman"
The Guru replies   "It is true. Knowing `Brahman' as the one that cannot
be known is true knowledge. Those who imagine that they have known
Brahman are ignorant; Those who understand that Brahman is beyond
understanding  are really knowledgeable and it is they who can attain

The Guru proceeds to explain: "That which cannot be expressed by speech
but that enables speech to perform - that is Brahman -and nothing else".

Further -"That which mind cannot perceive but makes perception possible
for the mind- 
that is Brahman - and nothing else".

Again -	"That which cannot be seen by the eyes but that by which the eye
is enabled to see - 
that is Brahman - and nothing else"

Also -" That which cannot be heard by the ears but that by which the
ears are enabled to hear - 
that is Brahman - and nothing else"

Moreover," That which cannot be breathed through the nose but that which
enables breathing - 
that is Brahman- and nothing else"

Finally -"One who feels he can understand Brahman does not know Brahman.
One who realizes that he cannot comprehend Brahman has indeed realized


There is a saying `If you have lost something search for  it in `Kenam'.
You will get it". What has been lost by us is our Brahma Swarupam. If we
understand the import of 'Kenopanishad', we can get back `Brahma
svarupam'. The central question which the Upanishad poses is `By whom'
(Kena). Hence, it is called Kenopanishad. 

Even divine souls and evolved souls like Rishis cannot comprehend
Brahman because they have been endowed with knowledge and power limited
by virtue of their past karma. Therefore, they cannot comprehend the
limitless Brahman.

This sentiment is expressed  Thus:-"Vedahamedam Purusham Mahantham"
I understand Brahman as the one 'Mahantham - too high be understood".

ANDAL says : "Utramudaiyai Periyai' - you are the one acknowledged by
all the Vedas as the one who cannot be measured - `Periyai' 

In Srimad Ramayana, Viswamitra tells Dasaratha
"Aham Vedmi Mahatmanam Ramam Satyaparakramam"
"I know Rama as the one whose splendor cannot be fully known" 

The Upanishads declare -"So Anga Veda Yadi Na Veda" which means God
knows about himself as the one who cannot be known.