Bhagawatam 053: Pandavas accession to heaven; Parikshit’s rule

Yudhisthira, who was devoid of ahamkara (sense of I-ness) and who had developed total disinterest towards this world, let go of all his royal garments and ornaments. Restraining his senses (indriyas) together with their activities, he withdrew them into the mind. He then merged his mind into breath. He merged the breath into life-force (prana), merged apāna into apāna (downward moving air in the body) and death into death. Thus mentally he merged all these into the gross body which is composed of the five elements of earth, water, air, fire and space. He offered all of them into this mental homa.

Thereafter Yudhisthira, who was habituated to meditation, mentally merged this gross body into Nature (Prakriti) which is composed of the trigunas (sattva, rajas and tamas). He then mentally merged Prakriti into spiritual ignorance (avidya); spiritual ignorance into the Self (ātma) and the Self into the ever-lasting, inexhaustible Parabrahma.

Yudhisthira then changed into rags, totally gave up food, took up mouna (total silence) and let his hair loose. He appeared to others like an inert insane being or a ghost. Without even looking back he left home. Like a deaf person, he heard nothing.

Do you notice how fortunate Yudhisthira was? Had he waited to observe the influence of Kali upon people, the story would have taken a different twist. Focusing his mind exclusively upon Paramātma, he began to walk in the Northern direction following the path that Mahatmas had taken for similar purposes. Our Shastras dictate that those who give up their life in this manner are totally free from bondages of re-birth!

Noticing that Kali was rapidly increasing its influence upon the people on earth, the other four Pandavas, with firm decisive intellect, followed the footsteps of their elder brother.

During their lifetime, these Pandavas had diligently abided by the 4 Purusharthas (adherence to dharma (righteousness), artha (materialistic earnings), kāma (fulfillment of desires) and moksha (attaining liberation). They realized that the lotus feet of Lord Narayana itself was the Purushartha.

They exclusively meditated upon the lotus of feet of the Supreme Lord. Due to this exclusive meditation, their devotion towards the Lord surged significantly and drenched them. Their mind was totally cleansed.

As their minds were totally fixed upon the lotus feet of that Supreme Lord, they became absolutely disinterested towards this material world and all its luxuries. Freed from all impurities, they attained that supreme liberation, which is beyond the reach of the wicked and which is otherwise unattainable.

Vidura, who had conquered the senses completely, also fixed his mind totally upon Lord Srikrishna. He renounced his body in the sacred place of Prabhāsa. Together with the forefathers, he went to his abode.

Upon hearing that her husbands, having attained dispassion, had left home, Draupadi fixed her mind exclusively upon Srikrishna and merged into Him.

Yaḥ śraddhayaitad bhagavat-priyāṇāṁ

Pāṇḍo sutānām iti samprayāam

Śṛṇoty ala svastyayana pavitra

Labdhvā harau bhaktim upaiti siddhim

Pandavas were extremely dear to the Supreme Lord. They had obtained his complete grace. This story is the most supreme and auspicious one. He who listens to this story of the Pandavas accession to Heaven, with total dedication will develop absolute love towards Srihari. In the end they will be blessed with that liberation which frees them from re-birth.

With this the fifteenth chapter of the First canto comes to an end.

First Canto Chapter Sixteen

In this chapter Parikshit becoming the king of the land, tours undertaken by him to conquer the world and his listening to the dialogue between the presiding deity of earth (bhu devi) and presiding deity of righteousness (Dharma-devata) are covered.

Maharishi Suta continued, “O Maharishi Śounaka! After the Pandavas ascended heaven, Parikshit became the king. Just as eminent astrologers had predicted at the time of his birth, he turned out to be an illustrious king with many noble traits. Under the guidance of wise, learned beings, he ruled very effectively and wisely. He married Iravati, the daughter of King Uttara. Janmejaya and three other sons were born to them.

Under the guidance of Guru Kripacharya he completed three Ashwamedha yāgas on the banks of Ganga. He honoured the priests with plentiful gifts. Astonishingly, in these Yāgas, the deities (Devatas) who came to accept the offerings made into the homa fire were visible to people’s eyes!

Once when valourous Parikshit was proceeding to conquer the world (digvijay yatra), he came across Kali Puruṣa, the presiding deity of this Kali Yuga. He was dark in complexion, had dressed up like a king and was riding a vehicle that was being driven by a cow and a bull. This Kali Puruṣa was kicking the legs of these animals and hurting them.  Parikshit caught hold of Kali Puruṣa.

Upon hearing this Maharishi Śounaka enquired, “O Mahatma Suta! Why did Parikshit, who was on this digvijay yātra, seize this Kali Puruṣa? What was the reason? Who is this Kali Puruṣa, who having dressed up like a king was kicking the holy cow?

O Mahatma! Please answer this question of mine only if this incident bears connection to the story of Lord Krishna or pertains to those holy beings who, being engrossed in supreme devotion towards His holy lotus feet, lick the nectar from those holy feet.

For, ordinary human beings like us who have a fleeting lifespan within which we seek to realize the Supreme Truth have no need for wasteful and inauspicious subjects that bear no connection to Krishna. What benefit will be obtained by spending time discussing wasteful topics? Apart from exhausting our longevity we see no other result”.

Often people waste their time discussing wasteful topics. Every second in this life is extremely precious! Use every second and every minute effectively without wasting it. Time once gone can never be retrieved! There are many who listen to stories of the Lord as it is a good pastime. This belief is wrong. Instead the person should be thrilled that he is using time effectively for listening to the stories of the Lord. He should not consider it a pastime. He should thank his lucky stars!

Hari! Srihari! Narayana!

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