The Mother Divine
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By Nital Pada De

Here in brief is Narada's address to the Lord in Sisupal Vadha. Narada, as all are aware, is a Devarshi which means a Sage among Gods. Sisupal Vadha is a classic work in Sanskrit literature. Imaginative literature, these days, is indifferent to the higher spiritual values; it is often even hostile towards spiritual interests. Happily, Sanskrit literature by and large is spiritual in out-look. Plato's distrust of literature is well-known. It is based on a sound principle. Truth is for him the goal of life and whatever is against Truth he would banish from his Ideal Republic. Sanskrit literature on the whole would pass his test admirably well.  It helps the realisation of Truth rather than hinder it. This speech of Narada will amply bring it out.

Says Narada to the Lord in this text:

“You are the supreme. For a yogi, it is all important to have a sight of your supreme self. For ascetics, there is nothing but you to know and realize. You are the highest goal of those who are stout of heart, the road to salvation is steep, weary and beset with dangers, people do not walk this way over much, and this way can seldom escape from their hands. Danger from these sources ceases only when the goal is reached.”

So far the Divine Sage stresses several important points. In this address the goal of life is to realise God; to have a sight of Him is the way to this realisation; the way to the Supreme is a thorny way and its dangers come from the lure of the senses. Temptations of the senses are hard to overcome until the Goal is reached, until God is realised. Safety is assured and permanent after God-realisation, it goes without saying that every syllable of this address is absolutely true.

Narada next says to the Lord:

“You are known as the Prime Soul. You are outside creation and distinct from it. You are the Eternal Soul. Those who strive to have a sight of you turn their senses inwards and it is with infinite pains that they can realise you. You are a matchless Architect. You have carved the thousand heads of Vasuki, the-Great Serpent on whom rests the total weight of the universe. The three worlds you have placed on Your heads with the utmost ease so as to form an exquisite roof for the hooded horde. The majesty of Your ancient Self is beyond anybody's capacity to realise adequately. In Your human form, You excel the Gods.  You can prevent rebirth for those who see You. You come down on earth as man to lighten the world when it is full of unholy people and yet in a sense You add to the world's weight even then for the three worlds rest on you.”

The points to note in this portion of the text are, first that death is not the end of life but it marks the transition from one birth to another. The unending cycle of birth ceases only with God's Grace, for God's Grace makes it possible for mortal man to see Him, and to desire exemption from birth. To see Him is a necessary precondition to moksha. But even that is not enough; he who sees God attain moksha only when he seeks moksha. So even Krishna's intimates in the Mahabharata do not attain moksha, and Muchukunda in Bhagavat needs to be reborn even after he has seen God. It is also to be noted that God chooses to be born as man to lighten the world of its burden; and that burden is only the sin of wicked, impious men. Many today are unwilling to believe in the concept of Avatara which means the birth of God as man to serve His own purpose or to promote the world's welfare. But this lack of faith is ignorance. Avatara-hood is not only a sober historical fact, it is a fact that repeats itself from age to age.

Now to resume the text "Your ancient self," continues Narada, "is inscrutable for even ascetics in deep meditation.    If you do not come down as man on earth to slay enemies by dint of your prowess, people like me cannot ever reach you. You alone are able to save this Universe when it is over-run by the enemies of the Gods, just as the Sun is able to clear the sky when it is dark with gloom profound. You have slain Kansa and his followers; so people are singing hymns in Your praise. But you are the eternal slayer of mighty demons such as Hiranyaksha and Ravana. So paeans in praise of you are but faint prologues. Tirelessly you go on slaying the enemies of dharma."

God, as the above passage testifies, cannot be studied or fathomed by even ascetics absorbed in meditation. He comes down as an Avatara in order to make Himself accessible to us. This is attested by even Narada, who is a Sage and a God combined, God realisation is made possible and easy by His incarnation as man. This is a spiritual truth universally acknowledged in India. It is common experience, and therefore common sense, with us that God is born as man and lives as man and plays in various roles as son, friend, master, beloved, father and all that, and then poor mortals have the privilege of knowing Him intimately. We in this sacred country claim to hobnob with God, to rub shoulders with Him, to rebuke and punish Him, to fight and even whip Him and attain moksha through this intimacy with Him. It may look like a tall claim but it is a bare statement of fact.   It may seem to be sacrilege to others, but to those in the know of it, it is plain, unvarnished, modest fact.   However—
Narada goes on to add, "Now please listen to Indra's message as delivered by myself. You are his [Indra] brother and have always assumed the lead in all his undertakings. Diti had son called Hiranyakasipu. An Asura is an over-thrower of the Deities. The Gods had not known fear for quite a long time. The name of this Asura came however to be a terror to the Gods. He managed his affairs admirably and prospered conspicuously so as to surpass Indra, Yama, Varuna, Kuvera etc. in affluence. Thenceforth the Gods commenced strengthening their defences. They dreaded his presence. But you came to their rescue and killed him with Your claws, piercing the clouds with Your manes, transforming Yourself into a lion of prodigious proportions.

"Then he appeared as Ravana and conquered the worlds by Siva's Grace. This Raksasa returned this Grace, fittingly, by heaving the mount of Kailas which is sacred to Siva. As the mount shook under the pull, Gauri, consort of Siva, clasped the Lord in an access of fear. Ravana warred on Indra more than once and terrorized the Gods by besieging their city Amaravati, wiping   out their garden, Nandana, raiding their treasury and abducting their wives and damsels and keeping them in constant dread. In Indra's battles with Ravana, what saved the God was the fleet-footed horse, Uchthaisrava and the celebrated elephant, Airavata. But the terror-stricken Indra had to spend his days in great anxiety in the interior of his house. Not even the discus of Vishnu could make a dent on Ravana’s rock-like neck; all it could do was to eject a few sparks. Not that Indra alone was his victim. Kuvera’s house was raided too by him and his peer-less car, Puspak, filched as well. Varuna, he collared with his own noose of serpents; the bison of Yama was robbed of horns in order that his bow might be made to his choice. Even the Sun stood in awe of him, moderating his heat in Ravana's harems; the Moon ministered to his passions. He pulled out a tusk of Ganesh to utilise the ivory for the sport of sprightly ladies. Fire paled in his presence and wind enjoyed his favour. Even the snakes of the nether world felt his prowess. He delighted in abducting heavenly beauties. The seasons served him entirely and flowers of all seasons stood together in full bloom to satisfy the redoubtable Ravana. He defied You even though he knew that You were immortal, so he did not care to release Janaki. Remember you had been born as Rama and eventually killed him. Now this same demon has appeared as Sisupala. He rivals Vishnu and Siva, in power and valour. When a child, he was four-headed and three-eyed. Now in the heyday of youth he laughs with withering contempt at Ravana and Hiranyakasipu for they had propitiated Deities by practicing austerity. In this birth too he goes on oppressing the worlds as of yore. One's nature, like a devoted wife, follows one in birth after birth. So kill him please without hesitation as he throws over-board the laws laid down by the Creator Himself.

Comment on the foregoing extract is not called for: It carries its own implicit commentary. We may just note in passing that thought of this profound order could be part of a recognized classic literature of our country in those days. In literature today however thought seems to be at a discount, and if it occurs, there seems to be an over-dose of it. In modern literature all over the world we come across this peculiarity: there is either too little or too much of thought. But literature thrives by a proper dose of thought and either extreme is fatal to the total effect. Secondly, the passage shows how literature gains in substance and sublimity when piety enters into it.    Dharma, as we see, is and should be a normal theme of drama and poetry and of other forms of literature. Finally, the passage appears to be strikingly meaningful in the context of life today and in our country particularly. It is a godless, soul-less era in which we are living. The time, one feels, is ripe for the Lord to intervene in person.