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Anec.15&16 Part I Myths

From: Nutech (Nutech_at_ix.netcom.com)
Date: Fri May 08 1998 - 09:01:41 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

This post contains Anecdotes 15 and 16 from Part I on Myths.

Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
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15. The power of Grace ( Kuchela)

Kuchela a.k.a. Sudhama was a classmate of Krishna when they studied in
Gurukula. He married Kshudshama and had 27 children. The family wallowed
in poverty. One day his wife suggested that he should approach Krishna
for help. It was customary for anyone visiting another to offer some
gift. Kuchela had nothing to offer except four handfuls of old and
stinking beaten rice (Aval)which his wife neatly bundled up in the torn
upper garment of Kuchela. No doubt, he went to Krishna not for seeking
any favor but merely to meet with an old friend. 

As soon as Krishna came to know of the arrival of Kuchela, he rushed to
receive him at the outer gate with all royal honors, seated him on par
with him on the throne, embraced him and enquired about his welfare.
Kuchela did not say a word about his financial plight and was ashamed to
offer the beaten rice to Krishna. But, Krishna seized the rice and ate
one handful. When he was about to put into his mouth a second handful,
Krishna's wife Rukmini stopped him. 

Next morning, Krishna saw him off with a warm send off but empty handed.
Kuchela bemused that Krishna purposely didnít offer any financial
assistance lest in the newfound riches, he might forget Krishna. When he
approached his home, the poor hut in which he was living had turned into
a mansion, his wife and children were bedecked with expensive jewelry
and attire and the whole atmosphere was resplendent with opulence never 
before seen or heard. But, Kuchela was not affected by the sudden
fortune but remained constantly meditating on the Lord for the rest of
his life and attained salvation in due course.

Comment

The story brings out two points. Firstly, with the grace of God, there
is nothing that cannot be achieved- wealth, prosperity, health, peace of
mind, salvation and whatever it takes and God will grant them unasked
for. 

Secondly, it emphasizes how one should approach God. One should not seek
any favor from God as if  the all knowing God does not know what the
supplicant needs. All that God expects is sincere devotion to him for
its own sake(Swayam Prayojanam) with no strings attached. He knows what
to give, when to give and how to give- which will be in the best
interests of the devotee. 

Before demanding his grace, we should ask ourselves whether we deserve
it and whether we are prepared to receive it. In the absence of either,
there is no point in accusing God of being merciless.

16. The power of Innocence ( Rishyasringa and Sukhabrahmam)

Rishyasringa

Rishyasringa, son of Sage Vibhandaka was brought up in blissful
ignorance of sensual pleasures. He did not know anyone other than his
father. He was so innocent that  he never set his eyes on any member of
the opposite sex. By dint of his innocence and austerities, he acquired
a power to bring rains wherever he set foot. 

Romapada, king of Angadesa was distressed at the famine in his country
which took a heavy toll of humans and cattle. His courtiers advised him
that if Rishyasringa could be brought over, rains would come and relieve
the country from famine. But, how? 

The king ordered a bevy of beauties to pose as hermits and approach
Rishyasringa. They did accordingly. The leader of the group, an
irresistible beauty approached him when he was alone, his father having
gone out for a while. She greeted him reverentially, garlanded him and
embraced him saying that it was the customary greetings of their
hermitage. Rishyasringar felt an unusual thrill and was struck by her
graceful charm, accepted the gifts and sweets offered by her all the
while thinking that she was also another celibate like himself. and when
she left, he started pining for her company. 

On another occasion, when she visited him alone, he expressed a desire
to go with her to her place. And, that was precisely her mission. When
Rishyasringa arrived, arrived also welcome rains and the Angadesa was
relieved from the grip of famine. The king gave his daughter, Santa to
him in marriage. 

Vibhandaka who came to know what was going on was angry at the
beginning. But, when he saw the courtesies of the king and the charm of
his daughter-in-law, he became pleased with the outcome, blessed the
couple and bade his son to join him after a son was born to them.

Sukhabrahmam

Sri `Sukabrahmam', the great sage whose only thought was
`Parabrahmam'(the Supreme Lord) and nothing else was one day passing
along the banks of a river. Some girls taking bath in the waters were
completely nude. On sighting Sri.Sukabrahmam' they did not hasten to
cover themselves. But, when his father, sage Vyasa followed Sukha, they
hurriedly wrapped themselves with whatever clothing they could lay hands
on. Vyasa was amazed at their behavior and asked them why they who did
not feel shy in the presence of the youthful`Sukha' felt shy before an
old man like himself. 

They replied that Sri.Sukha was so engrossed in the Lord that he was
oblivious to sexual distinctions of persons encountered by him and saw
them all only as Brahmam. But since Vyasa's concentration was not that
intense, he  could discern the distinctions which distracted his
attention and that in spite of his deep erudition and his `magnum opus'
of classifying the four Vedas, besides authoring epics like Mahabharata
etc. This, they said, was the difference between the two which accounted
for their reaction. This kind of intensity of concentration of Sukha to
the exclusion of all the rest is the hall mark of Bhakti.

Comment

The two stories above show how the innocence of a person unsullied by
temptations of sensual pleasures acquires a pride of place among
mankind. The single-minded concentration on the Lord to the exclusion of
all that is extraneous to the object of meditation is bound to endow the
practitioner with such tremendous powers. Even elements of nature like
rain and sunshine meekly follow the lead of such persons as it happened
in the case of Rishyasringa. As in the case of Sukhabrahmam, such a
person would command high esteem all around. 

Though it may be questioned how one could live totally insulated from
the world and how could nature act in consonance with an individual's
proclivities, we have to repeat that such skeptics can never experience
the ecstasy unless they reach up to the level of intensity of innocence
and austerity which Rishyasringa and Sukhabrahmam exemplified. 

The salutary moral, however, is the emphasis on virtuous and unsullied
conduct and this is valid for all time, past. present and future.
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