Q & A : What is death? The story of Rishi Mandavya’s impalement and his curse of Yamadharmaraja marks the time when “juvenile leniency” came into existence. Through the story, Adi ji offers insight into the inner processes that happen during death and what “death” technically means.
The story of Rishi Mandavya’s impalement and his curse of Yamadharmaraja (because of which he is born as Vidura on earth during the Mahabharata period) marks the time when “juvenile leniency” came into existence. Through the story, Adi ji offers insight into the inner processes that happen during death and what “death” technically means, in terms of the three sharira – sthula, sukshma and karana. He also relates it to the story of Savitri and Satyavan, and why they are considered great beings. This timeless story is narrated by Smrithi ji (in the next part)
(Extracted from the discussions at Vikasa 2016)
(In the Mahabharata) It so happened that there was this great rishi, Mandavya, who happened to be put to shula, put to stake, that’s a cruel way of killing. The raja found some thieves hidden in his place and he assumed this rishi is too a thief. The soldiers presented it to the raja and the raja wanted everyone to be put to stake. Shuladandanai – a spear is driven through the body from the back. Everyone was dead, except this rishi. The raja was terrified, because nobody would be alive in such circumstances. But this rishi was alive. And hence he fell at is feet and earnestly asked for forgiveness. The Rishi felt it was Yama’s fault. So he went to Yamaloka. He was so powerful, the rishi, so he travelled to Yamaloka. He faced Yamadharmaraja and asked “I don’t remember having done anything wrong in my life to have deserved this sort of a karmic consequence.” Because Yamadharmaraja is one of the important offices controlling karmic consequences and setting things in balance. If there is a cause there has to be a necessary effect. But who sets things? That is the office of Yamadharmaraja. That’s why at the appointed time, the messengers of death, as you say, Yamadhutas, would be here to take away the Linga sharira. There are different types of Sharira. This (physical body) is Sthula Sharira. Sthula means gross body. This you leave behind. Sthula – solid, made up of atoms from earth, but still stardust, because the atoms of the earth have been created from the nuclear reactions in the core of stars, supernova explosion, and from that dust, is formed newer planetary systems, stellar systems and so on. So this is stardust. But these atoms are recycled here, you cannot take it outside of this space, that is the sphere of influence. So this stardust is left behind here. That is the Sthula Sharira. Sukshma Sharira, you have the indriyas, all that part of the Sukshma Sharira. So that is taken, if you have not resolved it, if you have not resolved at that level, that is taken forward. So you still have a body, but which is subtle. Now this Karana Sharira, that is also generally linked to the causal structure, beyond which, it is just existence. You are not there. So that causal structure is generally in the form of a Linga, it is a Linga. You can experience your core causal structure – I would call that a structure, it is just a structure, because if that structure is dismantled, who are you? Then what is all this? There is no difference. So that structure is not generally…but if you wish to dismantle it, that is the aspiration of moksha. You dismantle it. That is a very very core dismantling. Am I talking crazy stuff? This is the mechanics, fundamental mechanics, and this is not to do with religion, though in this culture it is so robust, that it brings out the structures in a very systematic manner, so that everyone can benefit. It is just mechanics, it is like this space is there (the hall in Kriya Babaji’s ashrama), I came at a time when the yoga hall was not constructed. The yoga hall that we see now, was not there, it was space. Then they designed, constructed, and now also it is space, but enclosed space. You dismantle that, then space is space. It makes sense? So nothing has happened and yet everything has happened. Now because it is enclosed, this space feels different from that space. So because it is enclosed, this space feels different from that space. And what is that enclosure? That is what we call as conditioning, raaga-dwesha (attraction and repulsion) and so on. So this Sharira, that is also a structure, so that is taken away, by these Yamadhutas. But not just that, along with it, a lot more you would not have resolved. If you have resolved all that, then not a problem. You would have heard Satyavan Savitri yesterday. So Satyavan had resolved so much that the great Yamadharmaraja himself came to invite Satyavan away. But how is it done? So that is the mystic noose, which pulls out that structure, that you can call you, whatever you choose to call that. That is the core you, not the outer you, not the biosuit (physical body). This (physical body) also you can call you, but you leave it behind. Your Sukshma Sharira – your mental space, your emotions, desires – all that also you can call you, but if you have resolved it really well, all that will get dissipated. You will not take all of that baggage, because you cannot travel forward with that baggage. In our tradition people conduct after-death ceremonies to relieve people of some excess baggage, that is why so many samskaras are done. Anyhow the physical baggage, you are relieved of, but you have so much more excess baggage, to help people relieve some of their excess baggage these rituals are done. Not everything, unless it is a Satguru. A Satguru, a true Satguru, that is why people come to Kashi or such places to be free of the baggage. Old people, you have have heard of this traditional belief, you should leave your body in such places. They will come there, wait for 6 months, just to give up their bodies. Now, rules are coming to restrict people from doing that. (Laughs) So that is another thing. Or people will come here (to Ma Ganga) to give up their bodies.
You mean Jalasamadhi?
Jalasamadhi is an advanced concept. People think just throwing the body into the water body is Jalasamadhi. If you really have a tapasvi, you throw their body, it will sink, it will not float. They would have done such immense tapasya. And that actually benefits the entire…the whole stream is energised. Anybody who comes there is benefited. How does taking a dip in Ma Ganga just like that take away your sins? It is by such tapasvis and so many other mechanisms. It is held in place. Just throwing a body, any body, into Ganga will pollute it. So you need some capability before which..but who assess the capabilities? Earlier there were structures to assess that. But now it is all governmental regulation. So it becomes…environmentalists don’t understand this, they are not tapasvis. Earlier tapasvis used to regulate it, and hence it was in safe hands. After that you have confused individuals regulating it, they have no idea of what is happening, and hence, everything is questioned – “Is that dharma?” Dharma is when dharmis take decisions. (Laughter) Those who have integrated that essence of dharma take decisions. Not otherwise, otherwise it is adharma. Because you don’t know how to discriminate. Which is right, which is wrong, you don’t have it in you to discriminate. It is not a law book. You understand how critical it is?
There used to be a Rajaguru to guide Rajas right?
Yes, there was a Rajaguru. That was so significant. The rajas would always bow down to rishis, to brahmanas. Why? Because they were the holders of that knowledge. Not as a textbook, but living embodied knowledge. Others specialise, but they would be massive holders of knowledge. In fact, it so happened once Maharishi Vashishta lost his body. Everybody got frightened because if he lost his body, so much knowledge went with him. That should not be and hence everyone conspired to give him a body, that is why he was born again, got a body again, with Rishi Agastya, through Mitra-Varuna, so such things are done, because body is very critical. So you should cultivate the body.
So coming back to the story of Mandavya. So you have Yamadharmaraja, Yamadhutas, they lead you forth and hence you can imagine, air traffic control is really critical, because so many beings going and all that, very critical. (Laughs) So he goes to Yamadharmaraja, and asks,”I don’t see any reason why I should have got this karmic consequence. I am not able to reason it out. You explain to me.” For which Yama responds, that,”See, when you were a very small child, you poked with a needle, a small crawling creature. You poked it. You stuck a needle through a crawling creature and hence you have this karmic consequence.” For which Mandavya was…he could not accept this. So he cursed Yama,”You are sitting on this high pedestal and you don’t know what reality is in Manushya loka. You should be born a human. You should be born a human, only then you will understand.” And that was Vidura. Because of such a decision, Yama had to be born through a sudra yoni, a sudra’s womb, and hence had to go through various things, to be able to understand, “Oh, this is how it works.” So that it can be integrated back into Yama’s office. Otherwise, they will not have the practical experience to…it is like sitting in an ivory tower and you decide things, sometimes it might not work that way. In fact, Mandavya was the first rishi to bring in juvenile leniency. Juveniles should not be punished, because they don’t have the reasoning yet, but they have to be protected by the elders. The elders should be punished for their actions. This was brought about by Rishi Mandavya. So he was called Animandavya – because the shula stuck, it would not be removed. So Animandavya. So Vidura was born because of Rishi Animandavya’s curse of Yama. Yama had to be born as Vidura.