Episode 11 - Yagnavalkya in King Janaka's Symposium


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Dear listeners, from the last 3 episodes of my podcast, you have been listening to Yagnavalkya’s debates in the King Janaka’s Symposium. You heard the debates of Ashwala, Aartbhaaga with Yagnavalkya in part 1, then followed by debates of Bhujyu, Usasta and Kahola with Yagnavalkya in part 2. Yagnavalkya was almost declared as a winner in the debates when he was challenged by Gargi Vaachaknavi in part 3, however after listening to his philosophies on Brahman, she decided that she must admit that Yagnavalkya was the greatest scholar in the symposium and no one can think of defeating him in knowledge on Brahman. Yagnavalkya was the undisputed winner at the symposium and left with the prize of thousand cows with ten gold coins.

Although Yagnavalkya’s debates in the symposium had ended with this victory and announcement of Gargi as he being the greatest knower of Brahman, her open challenge was not liked by many!

One such scholar was Vidagdha, son of Saakala. After the symposium was over, he confronted Yagnavalkya and and him -

“Yagnavalkya, so far you have been impressive with your knowledge and philosophies on Brahman. Can you answer my questions?”

Yagnavalkya smiled and nodded his headed. This challenge was sudden and he was not expecting anyone to debate him after Gargi’s open announcement. However, ego played a bigger role!

“How many gods are there?” Questioned Vidagdha.

Friends, before Yagnavalkya answers to the question asked, I would like to deviate a bit and tell you a story. This is on Nivid mantras. Once devas wanted to perform a complex yagna or sacrifice. But the yagna hid himself from them. Since there was no other way out devas decided to perform a simpler fire sacrifice. They started reciting Nivid Mantras during the sacrifice. As they were nearing the end of the sacrifice, they realised that they could remember the steps of the complex Yagna. Eventually, their sacrifice was successful.

Nivids are named after Devas or gods. They indicate Viswadevas, and present the number of Vedic gods in form of a riddle as it says the number of Devas or gods is 33 or 303 or 3003. Many modern indologists such as Dr.B.C.Sidharth of Birla Science Institute believe this to be an astronomical unit. As per him, each progression in this arithmetic sequence adds a step of refinement to estimate the length of a year. For instance the Lunar cycle provides a measure of month, however please note that a year is more than such 12 month units. In Medieval times, this was resolved by introduction of leap year. However in Ancient times, this issue was synchronised with lunar month counts to equinoxes. So intercalary or extra days where added after a fixed count of months. 33 intercalary days approximately were added in a year so that it would measure 365 days and 303 intercalary days would add to a year to measure 365.2421. In Rigveda, Sage Vishwamitra has given the number of Gods to be 3339 which is actually an addition of 33+303+3003. This number when considered as the number of intercalary days gives the average year length to be 365.2424.

Now let’s listen to Yagnavalkya’s response. He said boldly “As many as are indicated in Nivid Mantras of Viswadevas that is 303 and 3003.

Vidagdha said - “Very well! Then answer my next question…how many gods exactly are there Yagnavalkya?”

Yagnavalkya said “33 gods”.

“Oh, okay, then tell me how many gods exactly are there?” Again asked Vidagdha.

Yagnavalkya again replied - “6”

“Oh ho! Now you are changing the number again, so I am asking you again tell me how many gods are exactly there, Yagnavalkya?”

Now Yagnavalkya smiled and said “3”

Vidagdha again asked the same question and now Yaganvalkya replied “2”. Vidagdha continued to ask the same question again and now Yagnavalkya relied “1 and half”. Now visually irritated Vidagdha asked him the same question again as Yagnavalkya was changing the response each time.

This time Yagnavalkya replied - “1”.

Now Vidagdha changed the question track as he was quite frustrated with the response and so he asked - “ Which are those 303 and 3003 gods?”

Friends, here Vidagdha first asked the larger number of gods then funnelled to smaller number of gods and finally now asked their identity!

Yagnavalkya replied -

“There are only 33 gods and there are manifestation of them”

Vidagdha asked - “Then which are those 33 gods?”

Yagnavalkya replied - “ 8 Vasus, 11 Rudras and 12 Aadityas, these makes 31 and then Indra and Prajaapati. These all make up to 33 gods.”

Vidagdha asked again -

“Which are the Vasus?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“Fire, the earth, air, the sky, the sun, heaven, the moon, and the stars, these are the 8 vasus. These transform into bodies and organs of all beings which server as support for their work and these gods help every being to live and they themselves live too. Since they help others to live i.e. Vas, therefore they are called Vasus.”

Vidagdha will not let it go so easily, so he continued his questions -

“Which are Rudras then?”

Yagnavalkya calmly replied -“10 organs of human body and 11th one is the mind. When they depart the person dies and makes everyone weep i.e rud, so they are called Rudras!”

Vidagdha again asked -

“Which are Aadityas?”

Yagnavalkya replied -“12 months of a year are Aadityas. As the earth goes through revolution around the sun, they carry a person with it along with his work. Because they go taking i.e. Aadaa, all this with them, therefore they are called Aadityas.”

Then Vidagdha asked again -

“Which is Indra and which is Prajaapati?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“Indra is cloud itself and Prajaapati is sacrifice”

Vidagdha continued -

“Which is the cloud?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“Thunder, i.e. vigour or strength, which can kill others… that is Indra’s function”

We know that Indra in Vedic context and Zeus in Greek mythology are associated with thunder, often they are visualised carrying a thunder. Indra’s thunder is called “Vajra”. So you see here, how Indra is associated to thunder because of his strength and vigour.

Vidagdha again asked -

“Which is the sacrifice?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“Animals, because a sacrifice has no form of its own and depends on its means. The animals are its means, therefore they are called sacrifice!”

Vidagdha asked him -

“Yagnavalkya, in your earlier response you said there are 6 gods? Right? You have been changing your response frequently! So tell me which are those 6 gods?”

Yagnavalkya smiled and said -

“Vidagdha I made no mistake when you asked me about the number of gods, the 6 gods which I mentioned are Fire, the Earth, Air, the Sky, the Sun, and the Heaven! These are same Vasus except the moon and stars which makes it 6 gods. In fact, my previous response of 33 gods are actually included in these 6. They are wider manifestations of these 6 gods!”

Then Vidagdha jumped on with another question trying to clarify the contradictions in Yagnavalkya’s response -

“But you also said there are 3 gods Yagnavalkya? Explain me that now?”

Yagnavalkya calmly pointed to the sky and replied -

“These 3 gods are the 3 worlds alone, From the previous 6 gods, the Earth and fire together make 1 god, The Sky and Air makes another and the heaven and Sun makes the 3rd god. So there are 3 gods! In these 3 gods all gods are comprised and infused!”

Vidagdha again asked him -

“You also told there are 2 gods? Explain?”

Yagnavalkya said -

“Matter and the Vital Force as these comprise of all gods that have been enumerated earlier.”

Vidagdha took a long breath and asked-

Then what about the one and half gods? You told us that too! Explain?

Yagnavalkya explained -

This is the Air that blows! Some scholars say that since air blows as one substance then how it can be one and half? I would debate it as it is one and half because through its presence and all this attains surpassing glory!

Vidagdha again asked -

“Yagnavalkya then you also said there is only one god! Explain us that?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“That one god is the Vital Force or Hiranyagarbha. The Golden Cosmic Egg. It is the manifestation of Brahman, it is also called Tyat or That. It is remoteness, it is the vastness, it is the void! Thus the gods are one and many. Infinite gods are included in the limited number as mentioned in Nivid Mantras. These are again included in successive smaller numbers from 33 to one - Vital Force or Hiranyagarbha! As it is that one Vital Force or Hiranyagarbha that can expand into all those numbers up to the infinite. Thus the Vital Force alone is one and infinite as also possess intermediate numbers. That this one god, the vital force which has different names, forms, functions, activities and powers. These different attributes are due to the individual differences of qualification of each manifestation.

Vidagdha asked him again, now kind of mocking him -

“Do you know who resides in the earth, whose instrument of vision is fire, whose light is the Manas or the thought and who is the ultimate resort of entire body and organs? Only true scholars will know this!”

Friends, in the above question, what Vidagdha wanted to know about the god who as the earth for this body, fire for his eye, weighs all matter through the mind or thinks through the mind, identifies himself with the earth, and is possessed of a body and organs. The elements of the body such as skin, flesh, blood is derived from the mother, which represents the field. The elements such as bone, marrow and sperm derived from the father which represents the seed. He also claimed that only true scholars will know this and challenged Yagnavalkya!

Yagnavalkya said -

“Yes, I know whom are you talking about? It is the very being who is identified with the body! But there is something more about it Vidagdha, won’t you ask me about it?”

Yagnavalkya mocked him back and asked him that his question was not complete! Furious Vidagdha immediately asked him -

“Then tell me what is the cause of this?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“It’s Nectar or Chyle! The watery essence of the food that is eaten by a woman to produce blood in her body. When she is pregnant and she passes on his blood through her placenta or umbilical chord to her foetus. The foetus receives the blood, nutrition, oxygen and other life support from it. This blood from the mother helps to produce the skin, flesh, and blood of the foetus, which are the support of its bone and marrow!”

Friends… just a step back from the story, don’t you think Upanishads are very rich texts, which are way-way advanced from it’s time!

How did our ancient Indian rishis and sages, who composed these Upanishads knew about the embryology way earlier than the science of embryology itself was established in the 18th century. First thoughts on embryonic development came from Aristotle and then the early works on embryology came from various researchers and scholars such as Aldrovandi, Leonardo Va Vinci, Marcello Malpighi and many others. Awesome isn’t it?

Vidagdha continued his questions, again mocking Yagnavalkya -

“Yagnavalkya, do you know a true scholar must know who has lust or sexual desires as his body, who sees everything thing through intellect, who weighs all matters through thought, who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs?”

Yagnavalkya replied back mockingly -

“Yes I know whom are you asking about who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. The one who is lustful and intelligent, filled with wealth of emotions! Go on Vidagdha you need to ask me something more as your question is really incomplete!”

Irritated Vidagdha asked him immediately -

“What is the cause of this?”

Yagnavalkya smiled and confidently replied -

“It is a women! She is the only one cause for whom the man’s desires are inflamed! She is the one who is full of intellect, she is the only one who is filled with ocean of emotions.

Vidagdha didn’t stop and continued to ask his questions to Yagnavalkya -

“Do you know about the one whose abode is the colours, who sees through the eye, whose thoughts are like light and weighs all matters with it and the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs?”

Yagnavalkya told -

“O Vidagdha your question needs to be completed as I know who is that, who is ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, it the very being which is also present in the sun! So come on and ask me the complete question!”

Vidagdha, again irritated by this, quickly asked him -

“What is the cause of this?”

Vagnavalkya smiled and replied -

“It is the ‘Eye’, dear Vidagdha as eye is the only truth for the human body. What we see is the truth! We see colours using the eye. The mighty Sun has Sun rays which is composed of these colours. As per scriptures, for the sun among the gods is the product of the eye in one’s body. So ‘Eye’ is the ‘Truth’!”

Vidagdha was now feeling the pressure and was desperate to ask something to Yagnavalkya which he may fumble and may not be able to answer! He changed his questions and asked -

“A true scholar would only know that being, whose presence is in the space or Antariksha, whose can see using the ear, who thinks on all matters and weighs them accordingly and the ultimate resort is the entire body and organs.”

Yagnavalkya on hearing this replied -

“Your question is still incomplete! I know the being who is identified with the ear and with the time of hearing!”

Vidagdha asked -

“Then tell me what is the cause of this ?”

Yagnavalkya immediately replied -

“Its the four quarters of Brahman, Vidagdha! As per the scriptures, it is from the quarters that this particular being within the body is produced.”

Vidagdha seemingly frustrated and continued to ask his mindless questions and started testing Yagnavalkya’s patience!

He asked again -

“Yagnavalkya you claim to be a great scholar! Even this assembly of scholars and sages in this great symposium has admitted you to be the greatest knower of Brahman and ultimate truth! You must explain me who is that being who is found in the darkness, who sees using intellect, who thinks, and ultimate resort of the entire body and organs!”

Yaganvalkya replied -

“Vidagdha it is the very being who is identified with ignorance which is comparable to the darkness! Ask me further!”

Vidagdha Saakalya, asked -

“What is the cause of this?”

Yagnavalkya immediately replied -

“It is the Death! It is the darker than the darkest!”

Vidagdha continued his questions

“Yagnavalkya, tell me now who is that being whose abode is some specific colours which reflect, who sees via eyes, who thinks, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs!”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“I know whom are you talking about, Vidagdha! I know the being who is in a mirror!”

Vidagdha asked -

“Then tell me what is the cause of that being?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“It is the Vital Force or Praana, Vidagdha! The Vital force or Praana exudes reflection of everything like a mirror!”

Unable to control his anger, Vidagdha continues his questions!

“Do you know whose abode is the water, whose instrument of vision is the intellect, whose light is the thought process, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs.”

Yagnavalkya getting bit irritated by mindless questions, replied -

“I do know whom are you speaking of Vidagdha, It is the very being who is in Water.”

Vidagdha asked -

“Who is the cause of this?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“It’s rain or Varuna, because of this water fills in the earth, lakes, and reservoirs”

Vidagdha again asked another question -

“Now tell me, do you know that being whose abode is the seed, whose instrument of vision is the intellect, whose light is the thought process or manas, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“I know that being, and that being is identified with the son!”

Vidagdha asked -

“Then tell me what is that being’s cause?”

Yagnavalkya replied immediately

“It is the father, O Vidagdha, as father bears the son or child who is the seed.”

Now Vidagdha was thinking hard to ask his next question, when Yagnavalkya stopped him! Pointing at the Vedic scholars sitting around the courtroom, Yagnavalkya said -

“Wait Vidagdha, it seems to me that these Vedic scholars have made you their instrument like a fire tong so that you can mindlessly argue with me! They must have done that because you do not perceive that you are being consumed by my anger and frustration!”

The scholastic discussions and debate was now taking an ugly turn! It was taking a form of a dreaded argument! Vidagdha Saakalya shouted back at Yagnavalkya-

“Yagnavalkya, you have flouted these great Vedic scholars of Kuru and Panchala with your knowledge of Brahman! They all are afraid of you and made me their fire tong so that I can argue with you!”

Yagnavalkya argued back -

“This is my knowledge of Brahman, I know what are its quarters or the directions and the meditation concerning them and its causes and supports!”

Vidagdha roared back -

If you know that then tell me about the meditation with its results? What deity are you identified with in the East?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“With the deity - Sun!”

Yagnavalkya was realised that his own mind was divided into five forms according to the quarters and through it the entire universe, as his own self, stood facing the east, with conviction that he was the quarters. Everywhere in Vedas it is stated that in this very life one becomes identified with and attains the god one meditates upon. There is a saying in Vedas -“Being a god, he attains the god” Yagnavalkya said Sun is the deity in the East. By this he claimed that he knew the quarters with its deity!

Vidagdha asked -

“On what does the Sun rest?”

This response was on the support of the quarter with its deity.

Yagnavalkya replied -

“On the eye”

As stated in the Vedic mantras and in the Brahmanas - “From the eye came the sun” that means sun came from the eye that is in the body and an effect rests on its cause.

Vidagdha asked again -

“On what does the eye rest?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“On colours, for one sees colours with the eye!”

The eye itself is directed by the colours to perceive them. Therefore the eye, together with sun which is in the East, rests on colours.

Vidagdha extended his questions -

“On what do the colours rest?”

Yagnavalkya answered -

“On the mind! For the one who knows colours through the mind, it is on mind that colours rest!”

The colours are made by the mind or heart. The mind is the intellect, The idea is that since one remembers colours as impressions, through the mind. Therefore the colours rests on the mind.

Vidagdha nodded and confirmed -

“Yes, it is just so!”

Then Vidagdha continued to ask Yagnavalkya about the other quarters.

“Yagnavalkya, tell me what deity are you identified with the South?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“With Yama, the god of Dharma or Justice”

Vidagdha asked again -

“On what does Yama rests?”

Yama together with the South support on the sacrifice, its cause.

Yagnavalkya replied -

On the sacrifice!

Vidagdha asked -

“On what does the sacrifice rest?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“On the remunerations of priests”

The priests officiate in the sacrifice, and the sacrificer redeems it from them by the means of the remunerations and wins the south together with Yama through sacrifice! Hence Yama being the effect, rests on the sacrifice, together with the south. The sacrifice is redeemed through remuneration of the officiating priest. Therefore it is the effect of the remuneration.

Vidagdha asked -

“On what does remunerations support on?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“On faith, because whenever a man has faith, he pays remunerations to the priest! So remuneration rests on faith!”

Faith means liberality! In Vedas, the faith is coupled with devotion. Only if the Yajmana or the organiser of the sacrifice has faith on the priest, he will pay his remunerations.

Vidagdha asked -

“On does the faith support on?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“On the heart! For one knows faith through the heart, therefore it is on the heart that faith finds its support!”

Faith comes from the heart, thus it rests on the heart.

Vidagdha confirmed -

“Yes, it is just so!”

Now Vidagdha began is questions on the West and asked Yagnavalkya about the deity identified with West. Yagnavalkya replied that Varuna or god of rain is associated with West. Varun rests on the water and water on the seed. The seed rests on the heart. Therefore a new born child who closely resembles his father as he has born from his father’s heart! Thus it is on heart the seed rests. On hearing this explanation Vidagdha agreed and confirmed.

Vidagdha continued his questions on the last quarter - North! When he asked Yagnavalkya about the deity associated with North, he replied, Soma. The Soma rests on initiation, which in turn rests on the truth.

The initiated sacrificer purchases the Soma creeper and sacrificing with that creeper along with meditation, attains the identity with North which is presided by moon and named after her. One who is initiated is asked to tell the truth as it is on it the initiation rests on. The truth rests on the heart as one knows truth through the heart. Vidagdha agreed to Yagnavalkya’s explanation and confirmed.

Vidagdha now asked Yagnavalkya about the deity associated with fixed direction above! It is direction overhead. Yagnavalkya replied that the deity was the Fire. In the overhead, there is more light and the fire is luminous. The fire rests on the Speech.The Speech rests on the heart. Yagnavalkya said that because through his heart extending in all directions, has realised all the quarters as his own self; the quarters with their deities and supports are a part and parcel of him. He is identified with a name, colour, form and action. Of these colours together with the east is one with the heart. Mechanical rites, acts of procreation and rites combined with meditation represent the South, West and North respectively, together with their results and presiding deities, are likewise unified in his heart. All the names together with the overhead direction also reach the heart through speech. The whole universe is comprised in these colours, action and name and these are all modification of heart. Then Vidagdha asked Yagnavalkya about the heart which is embodiment of everything. Then Yagnavalkya replied it is the ghost. As when one thinks heart is elsewhere than within us then the body is dead. The dead body would be eaten by the dogs or vultures. The body also consist of a name, colour, form and action and rests on the heart.

Vidagdha still not convinced on Yagnavalkya’s knowledge and wisdom, continued his questions -

“On what does the body and the heart rest on?”

Yagnavalkya said -

“It is Praana!”

Vidagdha counter questioned -

“On what does the Praana rest?”

Yagnavalkya answered -

“On Apaana!”

Vidagdha again continued -

“On what does Apaana rest on?”

Yagnavalkya answered -

“On Vyaana”

Vidagdha asked again -

“On what does Vyaana rest on?”

Yagnavalkya answered -

“On Udaana!”

Vidagdha asked again -

“What does Udaana rest on?”

Yagnavalkya replied -

“On Samaana! This is the SELF which is subtle and indistinguishable, as IT is never perceived, it is undecaying as IT never decays, It is unattached as IT is never attached, It is unfettered and free, IT never feels pain, never suffers injury! ”

The body, mind, and the vital forces are interdependent and work together as an orderly aggregate, it is dominated by the purpose of the individual SELF. That supernatural transcendent Brahman is immediate and direct by which all these upto the Space or Ether are regulated! They rest on them and their causes have their own effects! Only a differentiated object which is within the range of organs can be perceived but the SELF is opposite to that! It cannot be perceived. Whatever is gross and made up of parts decays such as the body, but SELF is opposite to that, hence it is undecaying! A gross object and its parts are always attached to another gross object, but SELF is never attached to anything. The SELF is free where as whatever is gross object is bound by something else. That’s why the SELF never feels pain as it is free and unattached. We as gross object are attached to many things in this world which gives us pain! The SELF cannot be destroyed and never suffers any injury whereas our gross bodies suffer injuries, pain and ultimately we die!

Friends, before I move on with the story, I would really urge the friends listening to this podcast series for the first time to listen to my past episode, episode 5, the Story of Praana, to be precise to understand what is meant by Praana, Apaana, Vyaana, Udaana and Samaana.

After responding to Vidagdha’s question, Yagnavalkya was silent and stared at Vidagdha. He has unnecessarily challenged Yagnavalkya again. So now it was his turn!

“Vidagdha Shakaalya! I challenge you, you MUST answer to my question else your head will fall off!”

Vidagdha was scared and trembling in fear as he knew he had put his foot on a sleeping serpent! He had no other way rather than to accept the challenge ! He shakily nodded!

Yagnavalkya asked -

“There are eight abodes, eight instruments of vision, the eight deities, and eight beings! I ask you about that Being who is to be known only from the Upanishads, who definitely projects those beings and withdraws them into Himself and who is at the same time supernatural. If you cannot clearly tell me of HIM then I curse you that your head will fall off, you will die in an unholy place at an inauspicious moment and even your bones shall not reach home!”

In this Yagnavalkya changed his stance and now asked Vidagdha to explain a own form of the Being who is only known from Upanishad! There are eight abodes which are Earth, Lust, Colours, Space, Darkness, Specific Colours, Water and Seed. The Eight instruments of vision are namely Fire, Intellect, Eye, Ears which takes part in multiple combinations. The Eight Deities are Nectar or watery substance, Women, Eye or the Truth, Directions or the quarters, Death, Vital Forces, Varuna or the rain and Prajaapati or the Father. The Eight Beings are identified with the body and are divided into eight groups of four items such as abode, instrument of vision, light and deity so as to constitute the universe as it is and withdraws them into HIMSELF i.e. into the mind, and who at the same time is beyond the attributes of such limiting adjuncts such as identification with the heart and mind.

Everyone in the courtroom looked at each other, they were all scared and went into a shell! Vidagdha Shakaalya stooped down, unable to explain Yagnavalkya’s question in detail, accepted his defeat and walked away from the courtroom.

It is assumed that Vidagdha might had met this fate due to the curse as there are couple of different instances of the curse of Yagnavalkya.

However, the important message the story provide us that one should not be disrespectful, rather should be submissive to a true knower of Brahman.

Then Yagnavalkya continued and told other scholars in the courtroom -

“O Revered Brahmins and scholars present in this courtroom, whosever wishes to interrogate and debate with me can debate and ask me questions! Or I shall question anyone among you all or question all of you! Are you ready?”

The scholars and Brahmins did not dare to speak up or challenge him!

When the Brahmins and scholars were silent, Yagnavalkya asked them using the following verse -

“As a large tree, so indeed is a man. This is true. His hair is its leaves, his skin is its outer bark! When a man is wounded, the blood flows from his skin and sap flows from a wounded or injured tree. His flesh is its inner bark and his tendons its innermost layer of bark, both are tough. His bones lie under, as does its wood, his marrow is comparable to its pith. There is no difference between a man and a tree! If a tree falls, it springs again from its roots in a newer form, from what root indeed does the man spring forth after he is dead? Is he reborn?

Yagnavalkya was silent for a moment and was trying to judge what answer would the scholars and brahmins say, however, he might have read their thoughts and said -

“Do not say - from the seed as it is produced from a living man! A tree springs from the seed, after it is dead!

If someone pulls out a tree with its roots, there will be no more sprouts. From what root does a man spring forth after he is cut off by death?

If you think he is ever born, I say, no he is again born. Now who should again bring him forth? - Knowledge, Bliss, Brahman, the supreme goal of the dispenser of wealth as well as him who has realised Brahman and lives in it.

A question of birth is possible only if he is not born or yet to be born and not for the one who has already born. After death he is again born by the virtue of the fruits of action. The Brahmins and the scholars did not know about this, they did not know about the root of the universe out of which the dead man is again born.

The story talks about the Knowledge, Bliss, Brahman, Supreme Goal etc. The knowledge is the pure intelligence, which is also bliss and not smitten with pain like sense perception but it is serene, beneficent, matchless, spontaneous, always filled with content and homogenous. Only Brahman has all these characteristics. The supreme goal being the bestower of the fruits of action. Dispenser of wealth i.e. of the sacrificer who engages in the rites. The word “Rati” is wealth and as a possessive force. The supreme goal of him who has realised Brahman and lives in it alone as it has renounced all desires and does no ritualistic work.

The word ‘bliss’ mentioned in the story is not pleasure as we mean it from plain English! Here the word ‘bliss’ is the epithet of Brahman as it has been used as “Bliss, Brahman”. Also in other Srutis it is mentioned that ‘He knew bliss to be Brahman”. The word ‘bliss’ refers to Brahman but there is also negation of knowledge where there is oneness.

So Yagnavalkya was the best knower of Brahman and proudly took away the cows with the gold coins. No one objected him! He walked away along with his pupils, cows and gold coins. Everyone in the symposium greeted him with folded hands as he left the symposium.

So that was the conclusion of the mega story - Yagnavalkya in King Janaka’s symposium. If you remember or may have heard the previous parts of this story, one thing is really highlighted. Yagnavalkya’s boldness and absolute knowledge of the Brahman made all scholars accept their defeat. The talks on Brahman, and the Supreme Self was discussed at length using various examples and scenarios.

Since this story has reached its conclusion, so as I do at the end of each story, I’ll ask you all three questions, if you are able to provide me the correct answer, I will arrange for a special episode with you in near future, just as I have done in the past. So sit tight for the three questions.

Question 1 - How many grahas and atigrahas are there and what are those? The hint - this concept was discussed in the Episode 7, when Yagnavalkya debated Ashwala.

Question 2 - What were the two questions that Gargi Vaachaknavi asked Yagnavalkya in the symposium? Please listen to episode 10 - debate between Yagnavalkya and Gargi.

And the last question - What are the 8 abodes, 8 instrument of vision and 8 deities? This was discussed in today’s episode.

Please email me these responses to my email arghyathinks@gmail.com

I hope you enjoyed the episode and learnt something new from it. Please like, follow, subscribe and download my podcast series and episodes from all the major podcast catchers such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Gaana, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and many others.


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19 episodes