Jaimini, one of the most celebrated and devoted disciples of Vyasa, was curious, dedicated and truthful sage of powerful tapa (meditation). Never for a moment, he forgot obligations and duties towards gurus and humanity, and adhered to the path of dharma. He was always engaged in the study of Holy Scriptures but still inquisitiveness within increased discomforts of mind and heart. He was eager to explore, and find solution to certain doubts and spiritual inquests.
Therefore, he went to the ashrama of sage Markandeya, and after a deep thought said, “O lord, a great holy book of Mahabharata is full of sacred principles and dictums of many scriptures. Tenets pertaining to life are exceptionally flawless and brilliant, and give a solid foundation to human beings so that they live life confidently and effectively. It offers solutions to various issues confronting man. Sanctified book is straightforward, appealing, decorated with perfect meters, rhymes and finely woven linguistic niceties, chaste and correct usage of vowels, consonants and various embellishments, attracts. It makes a complete reading of consecrated thoughts suiting calm nature of virtuous people. Language is pure and sublime and it never irritates sensibilities of grace and nobility. Sage Vyasa created the sacred book, a dissertation on eternal values. It is an immortal classic.” A long pause forced each other to read facial expressions. He looked up as if trying to decipher meaning and mystery of hidden gems of thoughts.
Jaimini said further, “In the initial stages, it offers background and then, stipulates and elucidates principles enshrined therein. For example, among the gods, lord Vishnu is the principle lord of gods people think and believe. Among human beings, brahmins are the greatest, who are learned and an embodiment of virtuous conduct, and adherents to the laws of dharma. Further, one considers chudamani as the grandest among the whole range of ornaments. On the same analogy, the divine thunderbolt is the mightiest weapon created beings believe. O sage, I would further say that among the indriyas (the senses of man) mind is the presiding lord. I think you agree with the stipulation.” He looked at the great guru and said again, “Stretching the argument further, I think sacred Mahabharata is the most consecrated and chief book among the sacrosanct books.”
He looked at the benign face of sage and then, resumed in soft and humble words, “O monk, the four great wings of pursharatha -dharma (religious life), artha (material wellbeing), kama (karma or passion) and moksa (liberation) find appropriate meaning and clarification. The holy book further tells how the above four aspects are essential for the man on earth, and emphasize that the qualities are obligatory for attaining moksa (deliverance on earth). various aspects relating to pursharatha are intimately linked to one another and therefore, find clear enlargement in meaning and purpose, and at the same time, main features and other extensions are explained separately taking into consideration each one.”
Monk Markandeya listened to Jaimini with a blissful posture and emitted a divine smile. Mild words were like little drops of nectar from the mouth of a great sage he thought. While Markandeya brooded over, Jaimini said, “Moreover, O sage, different wings of pursharatha find relative justification and focused depiction in related footnotes and sub-sections where one finds the subject, its relation, purpose and authority.”
“O lord, thus, the holy book and its teachings through different tales and episodes, are an extension of teaching and subtle knowledge that the Vedas impart. The Vedas require deep and rigorous study, and the pages open up vistas of knowledge pertaining to spiritual, metaphysical, worldly and various aspects of life but only dedicated and eager people understand depths of knowledge and wisdom Vedas convey. Through the reading of book, an ordinary man learns many abstruse and subtle meanings of life and existence when he goes through tales, myths, legends and the background the narrative figures out. Tales in lighter vein and at times, seriously, take up any subject relating to life and then, interpret and illuminate an ardent reader.”
He continued in soft congenial voice, “I realized Mahabharata’s impact and understood its rational approach to life and therefore, I came. Certain doubts arise even as I studied the holy book thoroughly. I heard your nectar like words and understood inherent meaning. I wish to know how the omnipresent lord of lords Janaradhana, the only creator, the preserver and the destroyer of the universe took birth in the yoni of a man even though he is nirguna. It puzzles as to how a daughter of Drupad alone, became a queen of five pandavas.”
After a thought, he said, “O sage, I have serious doubts. It is a mystery how enemy killed as if orphans five unmarried mighty sons of queen Drapaudi and guardians like pandavas. Kindly dispel doubts I nurse.”
Legendary wise birds, who knew the essence of life and existence and tale of Vapu who wishes to destroy penance of sage Durvasa
Sage Markandeya heard good-naturedly and then, penetrated into the eyes of Jaimini, smiled and said, “O great monk, it is time for the performance of obligatory duties, offerings, evening prayers and worship. I wish to give an exhaustive answer and therefore, it is not the right time. O Jaimini, I shall introduce you to wise birds that would answer and at the same time, chase away suspicions you hold. O sage, Drona, a bird has four sons (Pingaksa, Vibodh, Suputra and Sumukh). Sons of Drona are the greatest among the birds. They know meaning of tattva (the basic essence), evince deep interest, and so, contemplate over sastras (religious books). Intellects and hearts of wise birds are never tired, and truly comprehend meaning of Vedas and sacred books but appear thirsty for more knowledge and understanding.”
He thought and said, “Wise birds live in a deep and long cave of Vindhya, the great mountain. O sage, please go and ask disquieting questions and I am sure sagacious birds will satisfy curiosity.”
Jaimini looked serious, and after a little thought, said, “O brahmin, it is wonderful. I am amazed that birds possess voice and wisdom of human beings. Wise birds it appears, gained greatly hard and arduous knowledge with astuteness. If born in the yoni of birds, how is it that they attained knowledge? How they gained subtle knowledge of books? Why you call birds, sons of Drona? Who is Drona, the famous bird? How Drona’s sons, the great mahatmas of virtues turned wise, learned and attained knowledge of dharma?”
Markandeya said, “O monk, please listen attentively. I take you back to ancient times. A great assembly of celestial sage Narada, lord Indra and heavenly women (apasaras) held in the forest of Nanda is quite a noteworthy event. Prior to the event, a chance encounter between Narada and lord Indra in the forest of Nanda is significant. As soon as lord Indra observed celestial sage Narada, he immediately got up with feelings and gestures of reverence, greeted, bowed and then, offered to Narada appropriate chair.”
He continued, “Narada was very happy. In the meantime, divine women present in the hall, bowed humbly and reverentially before the sage. After preliminaries with regard to welcome, greetings and worship of sage were over, celestial sage occupied a glorious seat, and lord Indra sat beside him. Indra and Narada exchanged a few words of wellbeing. Narada asked about the kingdom of lord Indra and in between, narrated various tales as Indra heard each tale with interest.”
Celestial sage Narada related many tales in similar contexts. After sometime, Indra said, “O sage of gods, whatever pleases you at the moment, you may ask celestial women. They would entertain the assembly with godly dance you love and admire. You select any apasara out of Rambha, Mishrakeshi, Urvashi, Tilotama, Ghritachi and Menaka you like immensely and thereafter, witness an entrancing dance.”
Narada heard Indra, looked at apasaras, who stood modestly with bowed heads, thought and then said, “O dear apasaras, whoever among you is the most beautiful and a treasure of great virtues should dance. It is left to you to make a choice and therefore, the most beautiful and virtuous nymph will dance.”
“Celestial women were quite astonished when they heard and therefore, looked at one another and asked, ‘O lord, I think I am the greatest beauty and a mine of qualities.’ Another apasara says, ‘No, not you but I am the greatest with regard to beauty and qualities.’ It surprised Indra. After Indra heard foolish and unfounded arguments of nymphs, he said, “O celestial women, please ask sage Narada. He would tell you as to who is the most beautiful with a quarry of virtues.”
Narada said, “I would consider a nymph (apasara) as a treasure of divine beauty and qualities who disturbs sage Durvasa, now undergoing austere tapasya at Himalaya where the king of mountains captivates him through fitting overtures of beauty, love, passion and charm.”
Lovely nymphs were immensely cautioned and disturbed. It was a tricky situation to ascertain as to who was the most beautiful celestial woman with virtues of head and heart. It was not an easy proposition and therefore, they looked uneasy. One of the nymphs, said, “O friend, for us it is very difficult to say.”
They were silent and lost in deep thought. Apasara Vapu was proud of beauty and intellect, and filled with pride and self-confidence, she thought she would disturb monk with beauty, charm and charismatic advances.
After a thought, Vapu said to the celestial sage, “I shall go to the place where sage Durvasa undergoes severe tapa. Sage Durvasa has yoked indriyas like horses with the body-like chariot and very soon, I will prove that Durvasa is an incompetent and unfit charioteer.” Assertion seemed astute and wise. After a few moments, she said, “O sage, I will go, attack, release arrows of kama (love and passions) and destroy intensity of penance of Durvasa, who restrains and disciplines senses and thereafter, he will lose control over senses and body.” Vapu said boldly.
Sage Narada and Indra heard a self-confident divine woman and looked at each other. After a few moments, she got a nod from sage and the lord of gods and instantly went to the mountain of Himalaya.
Celestial beauty Vapu arrives at the ashrama of sage Durvasa and suffers sage’s curse
She arrived at the ashrama of Durvasa and witnessed an extraordinary scenario. She found that the most violent and meat-eating beasts of jungle had lost the tendency of violence because of influence of tapa of sage Durvasa, and lived in the hermitage in peace and harmony.
She preferred to stay at a distance of one kosa (a measure of distance) from the ashrama and reflected over the plans of enticing the sage. She comfortably settled down, began to live, roamed about and then at leisure, sang songs. At times, she danced as if she were unaware of the surroundings but concentrated on engagements of sage, and was in the look out of a suitable opportunity to enter the ashrama. Vapu was sweet and melodious like a cuckoo and thus, chirping continued. When sage Durvasa heard soft, melodious, soothing and gentle tuneful singing and sweet voice he was astonished.
Unable to endure the melody and enthralling tunes, he got up and went to the place from where delightful words, voices and tunes emanated. He saw a beautiful young girl sang a song, at once stirring and soulful. Noticing a beautiful woman, he was excited but controlled mind effectively. After a thought, he realized and understood the mischief. She had come to allure and tempt with beauty and charm. Suddenly, anger and impatience filled him.
After a few moments, the sage said, “O great apasara, appear mad with beauty and charm and so, continue to wander about in the sky. I know you arrived to create obstructions in the path of tapa I pursue. O apasara, I earned huge fruit of penance after I underwent sufferings. I will not forgive you. Therefore, you will suffer for ages because of anger I nurse after you acted foolishly. Now, you will take birth in the yoni of a bird in life next. O nymph of mischievous and mean intellect, you will live for sixteen years in the yoni of a bird after you relinquish physical beauty and magic. At that time, you will give birth to four sons. However, you will not get comforts of love and warmth of offspring, and therefore, feelings of deprivation would give agony.”
Sage Durvasa was annoyed, spoke in anger, looked at the apasara and said again, “O celestial woman, at that time, a sastra (weapon) released through the curse will kill and release you from the curse and thereafter, you shall go to heaven, live in delight and pleasure and attain an assigned status in heaven. That is it. Now, you do not speak anything against whatever I told you.”
Thereafter, the great sage left ashrama and went to spend time on the bank of river Ganges flowing in the sky, Akashganga.
Sufferings of Vapu birth of birds, genealogy of wise and divine birds
ApasaraVapu suffered because the curse of sage chased. Later on, she gave birth to a bird. The curse of the sage constantly scorched. On the other hand, Drona was born in the house of bird Mandpal after the consent of Kandara. It is interesting to go back to past to find the roots of amazing birds.
Markandeya told Jaimini that Garuda was born in the house of Aristnemi. Garuda was famous as Sampati. Suparsva was a brave and wise son of Sampati. Kumbhi, a son of Suparsva had a son Prololupa. Kank and Kandara took birth in the house of Prololupa. Tarksi, a nymph in the previous birth was born in the house of Kandara.
After a short period, Tarksi became pregnant. While she carried the baby in the womb, she went to Kurukshetra. At that time, the Great War of Mahabharata was going on between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. It was destined to happen and therefore, she entered the battlefield where a fierce war continued. At that time, an extremely ferocious battle between Bhagdutta and warrior Arjuna was in progress. Like a crowd of tidis (a dangerous class of flying insects that move in a crowd and eats leaves and crops to survive), the arrows of warriors filled the sky. Suddenly, Arjuna released an arrow with force and pierced Tarksi’s womb. Unfortunately, it torn asunder the womb and four moon-like eggs fell on the ground. Happily, the eggs contained life and so, did not break because of abrupt fall on the ground. Surprisingly, eggs fell as if a heap of cotton. Precisely at that moment, a huge bell from the back of an elephant suprateek of Bhagdutta collapsed on the ground and split into fragments because of deadly and frequent strikes of arrows cut off its strong ropes.
Time of fall of huge bell and eggs from the womb of Tarksi coincided and therefore, the huge bell covered the eggs securely as it made deep thrust into the earth. Now, the eggs were quite safe while the Great War gained momentum with each passing day.
After the war was over, a man of restraint and discipline, mahatma Shammi arrived at the place where the huge bell had fallen. As he came close to the huge bell, he heard chirping sounds that appeared like little sparrows. Though tiny birds had attained supreme knowledge, yet they could not speak out, as they were mere children. It was difficult to speak even a sentence. Sage Shammi was going alone to an ashrama and at that time, no disciple accompanied him. However, a few brahmins had followed. Chirpings of birds surprised. He bowed down and after digging out the bell with force, saw Tarksi, Drona and wingless children, the little birds.
Monk Shammi saves wise chirping birds
Monk Shammi was amazed at the unforeseen scenario. He could not imagine the fate of the birds. For some time, he failed to shake away immense surprise. Luckily, learned brahmins offered advice.
He said to brahmins, “I am reminded of an ancient incident. Long back, a fierce war broke out between the gods and the daityas. When gods defeated the forces of daityas, they began to run away from the battleground. Sukracharya, the guru of daityas rightly observed, ‘O cowards, why do you show backs to the enemy? Do not fear but fight out. Do not go. Return and join the war. O daityas…” He said in a loud and strident voice, “Where do you wish to go after sacrificing a life of courage, gallantry and glory? Wherever you go, you will face death I tell you.”
“You must die fighting. To run away does not bring glory and prestige.” He continued to tell daityas, “One may fight or run away. He can live a lifetime Supreme lord determines. Death comes when it is to come whether you fight or not. A living being lives so long lifetime is not complete, as the great god fixes. Until then, no one can kill anyone you know.” Thus, Sukracharya inspired daityas to fight against enemies.
Jaimini listened to Markandeya, who now narrated a perennial truth and recalled words of guru Sukracharya said long back. He continued to summon up words of Sukracharya and said, “O daityas, know the truth of life and death, and do not leave battleground. Some die in the house, and a few die if they run away. Still some die while eating and others die even if drinking water. In this way, people enjoy life of pleasure and luxuries, and travel in the vehicles of choice. They appear healthy and strong. No astra or sastra pierces the bodies. Such people also leave body and become residents of the abode of Yama. I mean none can escape death. It would come at the predetermined time. God assigns time of death for each living being you know.”
Sukracharya continued, “O daityas, death is certain and will come at the fixed moment. Some people are engaged in tapa and penance but the messengers of Yama also drive them away to the abode of death. O asuras, even yogis failed to immortalize worldly frame and met death. Recall minding the life of a mighty asura Sambara whom the thunderbolt of lord Indra struck. Indra gave a dreadful strike on the chest but demon did not die. You can imagine. Moment of death for the rakasas had not come. However, whenever Indra attacked daityas with the thunderbolt, they never escaped death.”
After a pause, he said, “Comprehend the eternal truth and do not nurse fears. Return and fight.”
“Sukracharya advanced convincing arguments.” Monk Shamik told brahmins, “Sound arguments swayed demons. Daityas understood inevitability of death at the appointed hour, and therefore, decided to return to the battleground. O brahmins, the survival of the birds proved true whatever Sukracharya told daityas and disciples. Look, the birds survived one of the greatest wars in human history, for Supreme lord did not decide the hour of death for the birds. They did not die even in that extra-terrestrial war. O brahmins, you just think for a while. It amazes. Think of the fall of eggs and the severely wounded pregnant female bird. At the same time, a huge bell falls on the ground and covers the eggs and an injured mother-bird. Then, imagine the bed on earth made of flesh of dead bodies, blood and…just think of the frightening scene.” In the meantime, disciples and devotees of monk also joined. They also listened while the guru addressed the learned brahmins.
Monk Shameek perhaps reminded brahmins of the mysterious power that sustains the entire world and created beings. It is for Supreme lord to fix time of birth, death and rebirth. After a brief silence, he said, “O brahmins, I do not think the wise birds are ordinary. If the great god is kind and generous, it is a sign of great fortune.”
Mysterious hour of death is indefinite and only Supreme Lord fixes the time and place of death of a living being. Death was a mystery ages back and it remains a puzzle even now despite man’s knowledge and wisdom.
Shameek looks after the wise birds and they learn about wisdom, knowledge, essence and existence of life
After uttering words of providential bliss and generosity, monk Shameek began to look after the birds properly. After some time, he said to disciples, “Please take the birds to the ashrama and return immediately. Take care and house the tiny birds at a place fully protected from cats, mice, vultures, mongoose and various enemies of birds.”
He turned to brahmins and said, “It is correct to say that one does not need extra efforts to save a life. All created beings die because of karmas. All live life as Supreme lord determines, for you saw how the vulnerable birds did not die in the terrible war. However, people should try to do and exert, and accomplish something tangible to attain the objective of life, pursaratha. If such a man always does something good and does karmas with a pure mind, he does not become an object of criticism or condemnation, and noble people praise him.”
Dutiful disciples of sage heard wise words and returned to the ashrama with birds in a basket. It was one of the most fascinating ashramas and here, birds of different kinds, and tunefully humming flying insects created musical surroundings, enjoyed juice of fruit and flowers, relished fragrance of a variety of flowers and thus, enhanced beauty and splendeur of sacred hermitage. Monk Shameek arranged food and water for the birds and then, took proper measures to protect little birds from dangers to life. He made it a daily routine and looked after the birds devotedly. After a month, tiny birds flew high in the sky, and touched path of the chariot of Sun god. While the birds flew above, monk Shameek looked at them from the ashrama with curiosity and anxiety. Wise birds reached at such a height in the sky that they saw many towns, oceans and large rivers from above and at the same time, observed that the earth was like a wheel of a chariot. After enjoying a panoramic scene, they returned to the ashrama.
Born in the yoni of birds, mahatma like birds were very tired after undertaking a long journey of enquiry. One day, monk Shameek showered mercy and compassion on disciples when he gave knowledge on dharma and its major ingredients and the essence (meaning of tattvas) and existence of life. Birds also heard lessons on wisdom, and learnt about the generosity of monk and therefore, the inner eyes of birds witnessed illumination of knowledge, monk imparted to disciples.
In a spirit of devotion and dedication, they took parikrima (rounds of the monk), bowed heads at the feet of monk and said, “O great monk, you granted deliverance from a dreadful death and were very kind and compassionate. You gave us a place to live, food to eat, water to drink and thus, looked after us like children. You are our father and guru. When we were in the womb, our mother died but father did not protect. You arrived at the scene of occurrence during the war of Mahabharata, gave life, and then provided security during childhood. Horrible situation would have reduced us to skeletons had you not saved and removed the big bell where we suffocated, and later on, salvaged us from sufferings and imminent death.”
After a little pause, they resumed humbly, “O monk, we grew up and now, we are wise, as you gave a boon of understanding and knowledge. Therefore, please tell how we should serve you.”
When tiny birds spoke of devotion (bhakti), sage Shringi, a son of sage and many disciples surrounded monk Shameek. However, when he heard birds saying in clear and chaste language (Sanskrit) filled with curiosity, his mind and body pulsated and within felt unique thrills and anxieties. A divine happening was a blessing in disguise.
Wise birds speak like human beings and lord Indra turns up in the guise of a bird
He asked, “O tiny children, please tell honestly. How did you get voice and language? What is the mystery of man-like voice and language that you have as birds?”
Sane birds said, “O monk, in ancient times, monk Vipulaswan had sons Sukrish and Tumburu. Sukrish a great mahatma, always kept senses and thoughts under restraint. Transitory joys and attractions of life did not carry him away. He was indifferent and detached. He had four sons…yet, he was our father. We were self-effacing, men of noble conduct, and with devotional hearts and minds, we remained meek and modest. Our father always kept indriyas under control and was invariably engaged in tapa and meditation. Whenever he required anything while engaged in tapasya, we rushed to fulfill his requirements immediately and never gave any trouble.”
All birds with one voice continued to narrate the incident of previous birth. After a short while, they resumed, “O monk, one day, a strange incident took place. Lord of gods Indra disguised as a bird with a huge body, fractured and torn wings, arrived. It appeared as if old age had overpowered and so, did not have the strength to move a little. Eyes looked red, and his entire body was weak, lethargic and unable to stir. Later on, we learnt he had arrived to put on trial the most generous mahatma Sukrish a man of truth, discipline and forgiveness. His arrival turned out a curse for us.”
Lord Indra in the guise of a bird said, “O brahmin, I feel very hungry. Please help and protect. O great man, I came with a desire to take food. Kindly give something to eat, become saviour and bless a hungry man.” He tried to impress and convince.
After a pause, he said, “O brahmin, I lived on the mountain peak of Vindhya. A very strong wind originated from the terrific fluttering of wings of some very strong bird blew me out and I fell unconscious on the ground with a big blow. On the eighth day, I got consciousness. However, I could not gain full consciousness for one month. After regaining senses, a severe hunger gave trouble and so, with a desire to get food, I came to seek shelter. I am not comfortable. It gives pain and feel deeply distressed.”
After recovering, he said again, “Kindly give food and protect me from death so that the journey continues.”
After the great sage heard painful pleas, he said to the bird, disguised as Indra, “I shall give you suitable food so that you are able to protect life.”
After assuring a hungry traveler, mahatma Sukrish asked, “What kind of food should I arrange?”
Hungry bird (Indra) said, “O sage, I feel satisfied if I get human flesh.”
Sage Sukrish said, “O bird, what a contradiction! You look very old and still an eagerness to eat meat, surprises. It appears as if a man finds no end to evil, mucky desires and feelings. Question to say an unpleasant word does not arise. However, one should offer whatever one promises. I did not think over the demand and now, I see no alternative or escape. Even if the demand is sinful or foul, one ought to fulfil. I hold the opinion truly in mind and heart.”
With determination and intention to fulfill a desire of an unknown bird and the promise he gave, sage Sukrish called and then, praised our noble qualities frequently. While admiring, he said, “O sons, if in your opinion, a father and a guru are highly regarded and worth worshipping, then, nursing pious feelings, you obey.
We heard patiently and said politely, “O father, whatever you say and wish or whatever work you want us to do, please consider the work accomplished.”
Sukrish said, “Hunger and thirst seriously trouble a guest bird and therefore, it sought shelter in the ashrama. You do a favour immediately. Please do something, offer your bodies and flesh to the bird so that he is satisfied. You quench thirst of a guest bird with blood, O sons.” He was silent.
“Clear command of father guru shocked and all felt distressed. It filled us with fear and bodies began to tremble. We never expected a guru to issue an atrocious decree. Suddenly, all cried out, “It will give pain. Yes, it would give suffering. This work appears impossible and we cannot do…we cannot do. How a wise man can kill or destroy a life for the life of another? Therefore, we shall not do it.”
Refusal did not make him happy. The great monk was very angry and looked at us in extreme anger. As if scorching to ashes, he said, “Array, even after a promise, you do not wish to do. Therefore, I am unhappy and issue a curse. You are condemned to take next birth in the yoni of a bird.”
He was angry. He performed last rites as prescribed in scriptures and then, said to the hungry bird, “O the greatest among the birds, now, you can eat me without worry or doubt. I offer my body as food and you satisfy teasing hunger and thirst.” Monk Sukrish said and then added, “O king of birds, to follow the principles of truth sums up the tattva of a brahmin, the essence of being a brahmin. If Brahmins organize yajnas, they do not get so much punyas and similarly in other karmas where they get dakshina, an undetermined fee offered for holy functions, it happens. But if he follows path of truth and protects it, he is divinely blessed.”
Indra disguised as a bird, was extremely astonished after hearing the sage. He could not afford to give pain to the man. He was immensely pleased with sage’s love and reverence for truth and dharma. He thought for a while and then, appeared as lord Indra before him and said, “I put you under severe test and scrutiny, and thus, I committed a grave sin and an unpardonable crime. O sage of pure intellect and mind, please forgive me for the sin. Please tell me what you want to attain and wish me to do so that it delights you. Your love for truth is excellent, and adherence to truth enhanced my love and respect for you. From today onwards, you will gain knowledge regarding lord Indra. Now, you would find no obstacles in the way of tapa and dharma.”
Lord Indra blessed a brahmin of devotion, left ashrama, and flew away but felt ashamed of what we did. Fear of a condemned yoni in birth next, fills with fears and dread. We noticed sage’s facial expressions. He appeared annoyed and infuriated. Now, we realized the sinful act. We proved wrong. As sons, we failed to discharge our duties towards parents. Children must obey a guru and a father and even if he demands life, one should not hesitate, we thought. We committed a crime and no immediate solution appeared possible. Fear of curse haunted. Therefore, without wasting time, we prostrated and placed heads at his feet, said, “O father, fears haunt and fill with uncertainty. O wise man, please forgive for the crime of disobedience. We love life. We understand that one should not love body of skin, bones, flesh, muck, dirt and blood. A man should not show much love and fascination for a mortal body but we loved body and ignored soul. A feeling of love for the body proved a sin. It was imprudence.”
Wise sons now realized a momentous blunder. After a pause, they said remorsefully, “O father sage, kama and anger, passion and love. are enemies of a living being and such flaws kill wisdom and sanity. Obsessed with dreadful qualities, a living being is overwhelmed with love and passion, and intellect fails to guide. Please listen to what we say though it is very late. Mortal body is like a big city. People constitute its four walls. Bones act as pillars of the body like city. Skin is like walls of the city like body that keeps control of body.”
After a short while, they resumed, “O father, it is plastered with panka (paste of mud of flesh and blood). City has nine doors. To protect it, one works hard day and night towards its security otherwise, it faces destruction. Nerves and veins continue to surround it from all sides everywhere. A conscious man resides inside the body (city) and guides it. It has two ministers: intellect and mind. Intellect and mind try to oppose, humiliate and subdue each other and therefore, continuously try to attain victory, and a struggle continues for supremacy. Four enemies of king reside within. King is a conscious man living within. Enemies are Kama (desire, passion and love) for material things, krodha (anger), lobha (greed) and moha (attachment, obsession or infatuation) for something.”
They thought over the situation and said again, “When a man closes the nine doors, then, powers remain intact and secure, give strength and feelings of fearlessness. Not only this, he begins to love everyone and therefore, enemies cannot defeat him.”
After a brief pause, they resumed, “However, when a man keeps the doors open, then an enemy called love and passion attacks doors like eyes etc. and very soon, all-pervasive enemy enters through the five doors (five senses) and begins to destroy the city (body). After entry of enemies through five doors, three dreadful enemies also enter. Love, passion and desire enter city and begin to establish relations with five indriyas of body. Thus, feelings of raga (love, passion and desires) overwhelm intellect, mind and indriyas and then, it becomes invincible.”
They continued, “After a man controls entry through the nine doors, it destroys four walls of body. When raga controls mind, it destroys intellect. When ministers no longer live with the king, the conscious man within and the citizens also abandon him. When enemies know weaknesses, they wipe out the king without difficulty. Therefore, raga (passion, love or desire), moha (attachment, greed and anger) are evil-natured enemies that cause memory loss. Raga leads to kama (passion and desires), kama to greed, and it drives a man to samoha (a state of doubt, uncertainty, indiscretion, obsession) and because of samoha memory becomes non-functional. Loss of memory or delusion incapacitates intellect. After loss of intellect, a man is ruined thoroughly.”
They said further, “Now, destruction of man is imminent. O sage and father, it is clear that we lost intellect and discretion. We run after raga and greed and then, we are in love with life. Please be happy with sinners like us and forgive. O, the greatest among the monks, you issued a curse. Kindly do something so that curse does not affect. Yoni of birds is full of sufferings as it has tamas qualities. Please free us from the curse.”
Sage listened to the words of sons for a long time. After they stopped and expected mercy, he said, “O sons, I never said a word, which did not prove true. Therefore, whatever I said, will not go wrong. I consider destiny and the will of god as supreme and powerful. Man’s valour and prowess are futile. I accomplished karma because god, the destiny compelled, rather forcibly asked me to do but I did not wish. I never thought of such a bad karma. O sons, you bowed and saluted and so, you pleased. Therefore, even after taking birth in the yoni of birds, you will attain supreme knowledge of lord and through knowledge, you will enjoy glimpses of holy path to salvation.”
He was clear, encouraging and generous. After a thought, he said again, “O sons, your sufferings and anguish will wash away, and no doubt will remain in the mind. Thus, I bless you with knowledge, and attain supreme siddhi (a life of perfection, freedom or salvation).”
Thus, the birds related tale of woes and pains to sage father. At last, they said, “O sage, we notice living beings on earth and their efforts whether physical or mental are under the control of gods, whom the will of god or destiny stops and puts hurdles on path to the sacred journey.”
After he heard the tale of birds, sage Shameek said to brahmins, “I told you they are not ordinary birds. They are great souls, who took birth during an extraordinary war in the battleground, and did not die.”
Afterwards, brahmins went to the beautiful and sanctified mountain of Vindhya. Wise birds of virtuous and pure nature - the great dharmatmas continued meditation and tapa on the mountain people believe. Path of dharma and truth leads a man to salvation. Karmas decide one’s destiny. If karmas are pious, one gets blessing of Supreme lord or gets punishment depending upon the gravity of one’s deeds.