Wednesday, 16 September 2015

(27) Story of Shuka, the son of Vyaasa


Valmiki spoke
इति नादेन महता वचस्युक्ते सभागतैर्राममग्रगतं प्रीत्या विश्वामित्रोsभ्यभाषत
When all those assembled in the court spoke aloud such words commending Rama, Vishvaamitra addressed Rama seated in front of him, who was the best candidate to receive the instructions on Brahman.
राघव तवास्त्यन्यज्ज्ञेयं ज्ञानवतां वर स्वयैव सूक्ष्मया बुद्ध्या सर्वं विज्ञातवानसि । केवलं मार्जनमात्रं मनागेवोपयुज्यते स्वभावविमले नित्यं स्वबुद्धिमुकुरे तव । भगवद्व्यासपुत्रस्य शुकस्येव मतिस्तव विश्रान्तिमात्रमेवान्तर्ज्नातज्ञेयाsप्यपेक्षते
“Hey Raaghava! You are the best of those who are endowed with intelligence. You already are familiar with everything that is to be known, because of your subtle intellect which can see through everything and observe the real state of the world. Your intellect stays pure always by its very nature like a mirror; it needs a slight rubbing that is all. Your intellect resembles that of Shuka the son of Bhagavaan Vyaasa. Though the truth is already understood within, the want of proof from the scriptures and the Knowers is needed to remove the doubt about one’s understanding.”
श्री रामोवाच भगवद्व्यासपुत्रस्य शुकस्य भगवन्कथं ज्ञेयेsप्यादौ विश्रान्तं विश्रान्तं धिया पुनः
Sri Rama spoke: “Hey Bhagavan! How did Shuka, the son of Bhagavaan Vyaasa found no satisfaction in his quest though he had understood the truth, and how did he get the proof thereof for his own understanding?
विश्वामित्रोवाच आत्मोदन्तसमं राम वक्ष्यमाणमिदं मया शृणु व्यासात्मजोदन्तं जन्मनामन्तकारणं
Vishvaamitra spoke: Hey Rama! Listen to the account of Vyaasa’s son which I will relate to you presently, which will cause the cessation of births and which is quite similar to your own case.
योsयमञ्जनशैलाभो निविष्टो हेमविष्टरे पार्श्वे तव पितुर्व्यासो भगवान्भास्करद्युतिस्याभूदिन्दुवदनस्तनयो नयकोविदः शुको नाम महाप्राज्ञो यज्ञो मूर्त्येव सुस्थितः
That person who is dark like the black hill (Neelaadri) seated on the golden seat next to your father is Bhagavaan Vyaasa shining with the luster of the sun. He had a son named Shuka whose face shone like the full moon with utmost purity. He was well-versed in all the scriptures, was extremely wise and was like the sacredness of Yajna personified.
(Vyaasa is the son of Sage Paraashara and the fisher woman Satyavati (who later married King Shantanu.) He was very dark in hue and was known as Krishna the dark one. He was born in an island and as soon as he was born, he instantly stood as a well versed young Sage before his mother; and was known as Dvaipaayana (born in an island). He sorted out the ‘Karma and Jnaana portions’ of the Vedas assisted by KrishnaVaasudeva and got the name of Vyaasa. He authored the eighteen Puraanas; and also the great MahaaBhaarata. His son Shuka was endowed with dispassion from his very birth.)
प्रविचारयतो लोकयात्रामलमिमां हृदि तवेव किल तस्यापि विवेकोदभूदयम् । तेनासौ स्वविवेकेन स्वयमेव महामनाः प्रविचार्य सुचिरं चारु यत्सत्यं तदाप्तवान् । स्वयं प्राप्ते परे वस्तुन्यविश्रान्तमना: स्थितः इदं वस्त्विति विश्वासं नासावात्मन्युपाययौ । केवलं विररामास्य चेतो विगतचापलं भोगेभ्यो भूरिभङ्गेभ्यो धाराभ्य इव चातकः ।
Even as Shuka pondered in his mind about the nature of the world, discrimination rose up in him similar to what happened to you. The wise Shuka (who was also very young and had not crossed his childhood state) analyzed in his mind the appearance of the world for long by himself through his discriminating ability for finding out what is real and what is unreal; and he understood the true essence of it all. Though the truth was understood, he could not believe that the truth could be as simple as that, which could be obtained just by thinking for long. His mind had lost interest in all the enjoyments of the senses which he knew as momentary experiences only, and became peaceful in the silence of the Self, like a Chaataka bird refrains from the various sources of water on earth and seeks only the pure rain waters.
एकदा सोsमलप्रज्नो मेरावेकान्तमास्थितं पप्रच्छ पितरं भक्त्या कृष्णद्वैपायनं मुनिम् संसाराडंबरमिदं कथमभ्युत्थितं मुने कथं प्रशमं याति कियत्कस्य​ कदेति वा
Shuka of taintless wisdom once approached Sage Krishna Dvaipaayana who was seated in solitude in the Meru Mountain and questioned him with devotion. “Hey Muni!! How did this grand deception called the worldly existence arise, how does it subside, wherefore it is, whose it is, when it arose?
(Shuka had lost even the feeling of a son’s attachment towards his father. He wanted to just find out, whether what he knew was the right understanding; and put forth questions to his father, for which he already knew the answers.)
(Meru Mountain is a huge mountain which forms the central support of all the worlds. It is made of golden shine which appears as solid gold metal in the lower worlds of the ignorant (where the immediate solidity is alone the reality). Only beings of higher category can see it and ascend it. Brahmaa the creator sits in absorption of Brahman on the summit of the mountain. Higher class of Sages and Devas roam about it freely. The famed Kalpa Vrksha, the wish-fulfilling tree also exits in the Meru Mountain only. The word Meru means the central point. Meru is the central point of Creation around which other mountains and islands connected to them stay supported by it.)
इति पृष्टेन मुनिना व्यासेनाखिलमात्मजे यथावदमलं प्रोक्तं वक्तव्यं विदितात्मना । आज्ञासिषं पूर्वमेतदहमित्यथ​ तत्पितुः शुकः शुभया बुद्ध्या वाक्यं बह्वमन्यत
Questioned in this way, Sage Vyaasa, who had realized the ‘knowledge of the Aatman’, explained to his son everything that needed to be told, without any fault. ‘Aa, I know this already’-thinking thus Shuka of pure intellect did not place much value to the words of his father.
(Since his father was usually engaged in the world-affairs only most of the time, Shuka felt that his father could not have found the truth which he had acquired through pure contemplation process.)
व्यासोsपि भगवाञ्ज्ञात्वा पुत्राभिप्रायमीदृशं प्रत्युवाच पुनः पुत्रं नाहं जानामि तत्वतः जनको नाम भूपालो विद्यते वसुधातले यथावद्वेत्त्यसौ वेद्यं तस्मात्सर्वमवाप्स्यसि
Vyaasa understood that his son did not get satisfied by his answers, and said to him, “Son! I believe that I do not know how to explain this properly. There lives a king named Janaka on the pedestal of earth. He knows everything that is to be known exactly as it is. From him you will be able to find the answers for your queries.”  (When there is no faith in the student about his teacher, the truths cannot be grasped, even if it is Shiva who is imparting the knowledge.)
पित्रेत्युक्त: शुक: प्रायात्सुमेरोर्वसुधातले विदेहनगरीं प्राप जनकेनाभिपालिताम् । आवेदितोsसौ याष्टिकैर्ज​नकाय महात्मने द्वारि व्याससुतो राजन्शुकोsत्र स्थितवानिति
Thus spoken by his father, Shuka descended down to the base of the Meru Mountain. He arrived at the city of Videha ruled by King Janaka. His arrival was reported to the great king Janaka by the soldiers armed with clubs thus, “Hey Raajan! Shuka the son of Vyaasa is here at the gate.”
जिज्ञासार्थं शुकस्यासावास्तामेवेत्यवज्ञयोक्त्वा बभूव जनकस्तूष्णीं सप्तदिनान्यथ । ततः प्रवेशयामास जनकः शुकमङ्गणं त​त्राहानि सप्तैव तथैवासदुन्मनाः । ततः प्रवेशयामास जनकोsन्त:पुरं शुकं राजा दृश्यते तावदिति सप्तदिनानि च​। तत्रोन्मदाभिः कान्ताभिर्भोजनैर्भोगसंचयैर्ज​नको लालयामास शुकं शशिसमाननम् । ते भोगास्तानि दु:खानि व्यासपुत्रस्य​​ तन्मनः नाजह्नुर्मन्दपवना बद्धपीठमिवाचलं । केवलं सुसमः स्वस्थो मौनी मुदितमानसोऽतिष्टत्स शुकस्तत्र​ संपूर्णेव चन्द्रमाः ।  परिज्ञातस्वभावं तं शुकं जनको नृपोऽऽनीय  मुदितात्मानामवलोक्य ननाम
In order to test the level of understanding in Shuka, Janaka replied with contempt “Let him be there” and remained without taking notice of his arrival at all, for the next seven days. Later Janaka allowed Shuka to enter just the courtyard inside the gate. Shuka eager to see Janaka and find the answers for his quest stayed there itself for seven days (waiting patiently). Later Janaka permitted him to enter the harem (AntahPura) and made him stay there for seven days informing him through his servants that he was busy and could not see him immediately. Janaka indulged Shuka shining with purity like the full-moon with hosts of enjoyments, intoxicating damsels and delicious feasts. Neither the presence of those wonderful pleasures (from which he stayed unaffected), nor the pain of waiting patiently bearing all the humiliation had any effect on the son of Vyaasa, like the mountain hit by soft winds (stays unaffected). He bore everything with equal mind, remained absorbed in the silence within, and was naturally happy and shone like the full moon with its nectar-like cool rays.  Shuka was in the realized state of his true essence. King Janaka got him brought to the court with all honour due to a Knower; saw him shining with the bliss of the Aatman; and saluted him with reverence.
जनकोवाच​ नि:शेषितजगत्कार्य प्राप्ताखिलमनोरथ किमीहितं तवेत्याशु कृतस्वागतमाह तम् ।
Janaka welcomed him with due honour and spoke: “Whatever is do be done in this world for attaining the final goal of liberation has been already done by you. There is nothing more you have to try for. You have attained the fulfillment of your quest for knowledge. What more do you want to know?”
श्रीशुकोवाच संसाराडंबरमिदं कथमभ्युत्थितं गुरो कथं प्रशममायाति यथावत्कथयाशु मे
Shuka spoke: “HeyGuru! How did this grandeur called the worldly existence come to be there? How can it be made to subside? Please explain to me the truth as it is without delay!”
विश्वामित्रोवाच जनकेनेति पृष्टेन शुकस्य कथितं तदा तदेव यत्पुरा प्रोक्तं तस्य पित्रा महात्मना ।
Vishvaamitra spoke: The same explanation which was spoken by his noble father previously was again related by Janaka to Shuka who questioned like this.
श्रीशुकोवाच स्वयमेव मया पूर्वमेतज्ज्ञातं विवेकतः एतदेव पृष्टेन पित्रा मे समुदाहृतम् । भवताप्येषैवार्थः कथितो वाग्विदाम्वर एषैव वाक्यार्थः शास्त्रेषु परिदृश्यते यथायं स्वविकल्पोत्थः स्वविकल्पपरिक्षयात्क्षीयते दग्धसंसारो नि:सारेति निश्चयः । तत्किमेतन्महाबाहो सत्यं ब्रूहि ममाचलं त्वत्तो विश्रान्तिमाप्नोमि चेतसा भ्रमता जगत्
Shuka spoke: “I know this already through my own proper discrimination ability. This alone was explained in detail by my father when he was questioned by me. O Greatest among orators! You also have told the same truth! Words denoting the same truth are found in the scriptures also. It is a confirmed truth that this scorching mundane existence is without any essence and rises out of one’s own conceptions and dissolves by the cessation of one’s own conceptions. (World has no real existence except as what is conceived by any mind.)  Tell me the immovable truth hey mighty armed king, so that my confused state of whether I have really understood the truth or not is set right and I am at peace.”
जनकोवाच नातः परतरः कश्चिन्निश्चयोsस्त्यपरो मुने स्वयमेव त्वया ज्ञातं गुरुतश्च पुनः श्रुतं ।
अविच्छिन्नचिदात्मैकः पुमानस्तीह नेतरत्स्वसंकल्पवशाद्बद्धो निसंकल्पश्च मुच्यते  तेन त्वया स्फुटं ज्ञातं ज्ञेयं यस्य महात्मनः भोगेभ्योप्यरतिर्जाता दृश्याद्वा सकलादिह
Janaka spoke: “Hey Muni! There is nothing more to be ascertained through any proof than that which you have known through your own efforts and heard the same again from your father. There is only one ‘Pumaan’, the ‘totality perceiver-state of awareness’ which is undivided; and nothing else! One is bound by one’s own conception; one is free when he is without the conception. You do not have attraction towards any enjoyment that belongs to the perceived world; you are indeed a great person! You have understood perfectly that essence which is to be known!
तव बाल महावीर मतिर्विरतिमागता भोगेभ्यो दीर्घरोगेभ्यः किमन्यच्छ्रोतुमिच्छसि
“You are still very young; yet you have conquered your senses like a valorous one. Your mind is filled with dispassion. You are not at all attracted by the sense pleasures which are nothing but prolonged ailments. What else do you want to hear about?
न तथा पूर्णता जाता सर्वज्ञानमहानिधे: तिष्टतः तपसि स्फारे पितुस्तव यथा तव व्यासादधिकैवाहं व्यासशिष्योsसि तत्सुतः भोगेच्छातानवेनेह मत्तोप्यत्यधिको भवान्
“Your father who is the treasure house of all knowledge is always absorbed in penance. You have excelled him by attaining the completeness. I am slightly better than Vyaasa maybe; but you are the disciple and the son of the great Vyaasa. Having discarded the desires for the world-enjoyments you have excelled me also.
प्राप्तं प्राप्तव्यमखिलं भवता पूर्णचेतसा दृश्ये पतसि ब्रह्मन्मुक्तस्त्वं भ्रान्तिमुत्सृज  
“Hey Brahman!  All that has to be achieved has been achieved by you of a fulfilled mind! You are not deluded by the perceptions! You are already liberated! Get rid of this confusion.”
विश्वामित्रोवाच अनुशिष्टः इत्येवं जनकेन महात्मना विशश्राम शुकस्तूष्णीं स्वस्थे परमवस्तुनि वीतशोकभयायासो निरीहशिच्छिन्नसम्शयो जगाम शिखरं मेरोः समाध्यर्थमनिन्दितम् । तत्र वर्षसहस्राणि निर्विकल्पसमाधिना दश स्थित्वा शशामासावात्मन्यस्नेहदीपवत्  व्यपगतकलनाकलङ्कशुद्धः  स्वयममलात्मनि पावनेपदेsसौ सलिलकणेवाम्बुधौ महात्मा विगलितवासनमेकतां जगाम ॥ 
Thus advised by the great soul Janaka in this way, Shuka rested in the silence of the Supreme Reality in his own essence. Free of any pain, fear, or strain; free of desires; with all his doubts cleared; he went to the peak of the Meru Mountain to rest in the blameless tranquility forever. Having remained in that state of Nirvikalpa Samaadhi for ten thousand years, he rested within in the Self like the lamp without oil. This great soul was in a pure state without any stains called thoughts. Being completely rid of all the Vaasanaas he attained oneness in the sacred state of his own taintless Self like a water-drop merging in the ocean.
(To attain the level of the great Vyaasa who was always in the highest state of Brahman though engaged in the works of the world, Shuka had to practice the dry contemplation for a long time. After he understood the greatness of his own father, he was freed of even that smallest fault; and shone like a full moon without any taint.)

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