Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The story of Indra and Nahusha. Mahabharata 105

 The story below which Shalya narrates to console Yudhisthira is borrowed from vachana bharata:
'Once त्व्ष्ट्र,  Brahma, the heavenly builder, the creator of all living beings  plotting against Indra  acquires a son named Trishirasa.  The son seeking to usurp the position of Indra performs a penance. As Indra's apsaras are unable to break the penance and stop him,  Indra  kills him! Then the creator gets another stronger son Vritra. Indra is unable to tackle him and runs away from heaven. Later the gods manage a truce between the two. Indra promises not to kill Vritra with the use of weapons. But Indra waiting for the right opportunity manages to kill Vritra with the foam created by the waves at the seafront. As he has killed two sons of Brahma, the stigma of Brahmahatya is visibly attached to Indra. Indra ashamed of this stigma, goes into hiding!'

'After some deliberations Devatas and Deva Rishis invite Nahusha to become the protector of gods and offer him the position of Indra. Nahusha soon gets used to the privileges Indra enjoyed.  In time,  Aprsaras are not enough and he desires Sachidevi, the wife of Indra! Sachidevi meets Nahusha and seeks time. In the meantime gods locate Indra who has gone into hiding, and get him to perform Ashwameda yaga. With this he is relieved of the stigma attached to him.

Meantime Sachidevi meets Nahusha and tells him that she would be his, only if the saptha rishis carry him to her palace! Nahusha believes, his mind clouded by his passion, that it is part of the ritual and agrees. He, as the god of kings, makes the saptha rishis carry him. Accidently his leg touches the muni Agastya and  the rishi is very upset. He curses Nahusha and he looses all his acquired merits. Immediately Nahusha falls down and turns into a serpent. The gods then locate Indra and reinstall him back to his position. Thus he and his consort Sachidevi get back to being together and Indra begins to rule devaloka as before.'

Shalya concludes the story and reassures Yudhisthira that his enemies would be destroyed soon and even he, the same way as Indra and Sachidevi, who underwent hardships and Indra had to hide himself from his enemies, would be happy again.

Wonder why sage Vyaasa or the later pundits added this story. Anyway it illustrates the fact that 'The gods have the same problems as us or gods are no better than us or humans and gods were not very different!'

As I read about Indra , I see that Indra  is known in many other countries and in an other religion. Indra was very visible in Thailand.  We see in Wat Arun a beautiful sculpture of  Indra riding on Airavata (Eravan).  His  story is fascinating, especially his drop in importance over a period of time. He was very important during the vedic times. It may be as we progressed and moved from agriculture, we needed better icons!

The story of Nahusha is confusing. I wonder if it is meant to tell us that a human could aspire to be a deva and also as a warning. He could become a naga ( A serpent) if he loses his head!

But then I read an autobiography of Sri M, ( I have also heard him speak!)  'Apprentice to a Himalayan Master. A yogi's autobiography.' As an apprenctice  he and his guru had the experience of the visitation a naga from a nagalokha, but their visitor came from another planet and not from पाताल, lower regions of the world. According to Sri M's guru, these nagas are more evolved than humans.

 'In the milky way there exists a stellar system with seven planets and eighteen moons. One of these planets is called Sarpa Lokha, and is entirely inhabited by highly evolved, hooded snakes. The serpents are called naga devatas. The person you saw is the deputy chief of this realm and he is called Nagaraja. the supreme head of the nagas is the five-hooded golden serpent, known in ancient Indian texts, as Anantha.'


Anonymous said...

The story of Nahusha tells us that one should be very cautious as to NOT leave morality and be vigilant against immortal acts----one should always think & assess his own activities whether they are according to dharma or adharma. By being cautious and always remaining vigilant, one should remain on path of dharma. But, if due to some petty increase in money or following one may become blind to dharma.

This is a lesson for everyone including demigods.

Anonymous said...

According to the Bhagavad Gita, the positions of demigods are also not permanent. When the Karma Phala [similar to bank balance] is used then one falls down to Martya loka (Bhuloka)---so Bhagavad Gita never considers attaining heavenly planets is the highest achievement.

The real achievement is attainment of Bhakti to the lotus feet to Sri Krishna.

Teachings of King Yudhisthir to Nahusha

Nahusha as Python - asks questions about Dharma to King Yudhisthir (from Mahabharata):

Once, in a forest a python captures Bhima in his coil, and when Yudhisthir comes to his aid, Nahusha as Python asks questions about Dharma and the real duty of a living entity to King Yudhisthir. After Yudhisthir answers all his questions, Nahusha is relieved from his curse. Here is some brief description of the real dharma (duty) of living beings told by King Yudhisthir:

The soul is eternal and is taking birth and experiencing death in varieties of bodies given by material nature. Thus the living being (soul) sometimes identifies himself as man, as woman, as dog, as cat, etc. Thus identifying himself with his body, which is nothing but a combination of earth, water , fire and air---the living entity tries to maintain his body and protect it and also occupied by the thoughts of maintaining his family--and thus experiences repeated birth and death. When one recognizes that he is not a product of matter but a spiritual being, and a part and parcel of God [Lord Narayana or Lord Krishna - the Supreme Soul] and that his real duty is to serve the supreme soul--that is the perfection and the real dharma [duty]. In the current material conception of life, we serve our own senses or senses of family members...and these bodies are finally going to be destroyed by TIME factor--which is swiftly moving without being noticed by anyone. EVERYONE notices loss of money, loss of property, BUT no one notices passage of TIME and that TIME [another factor of God] ultimately destroys the bodies. So, the real duty of human beings is to understand this and become or identify himself/herself as servant of God [Lord Krishna] and make their life successful before death approaches.