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Sunday, April 17, 2011

darkness of ignorance

यक्ष उवाच
केनस्विदावृतो लोकः केनस्विन्न प्रकाशते।
केन त्यजति मित्राणि केन स्वर्गं न गच्छति॥६२॥
युधिष्टिर उवाच
अज्ञानेनावृतो लोकः तमसा न प्रकाशते।
लोभात्त्यजति मित्राणि सङ्गात् स्वर्गं न गच्छति॥६३॥
श्रीमहाभारते आरण्यकपर्वणि यक्षप्रश्ने अध्यायः॥ २९७॥
yakṣa uvāca
kenasvidāvṛto lokaḥ kenasvinna prakāśate|
kena tyajati mitrāṇi kena svargaṁ na gacchati||62||
yudhiṣṭira uvāca
ajñānenāvṛto lokaḥ tamasā na prakāśate|
lobhāttyajati mitrāṇi saṅgāt svargaṁ na gacchati||63||
śrīmahābhārate āraṇyakaparvaṇi yakṣapraśne adhyāyaḥ || 297||

Yaksha Prasnam is a highly celebrated part of the epic Mahabharatham. During their wanderings in the forest, the elder brother Yudishtira had asked his youngest brother to fetch some drinking water. Sahadeva went to a nearby lake and was about to gather some water, when he was confronted by a Yaksha in the form of a crane who challenges the young prince to answer some questions and then alone take water. The youngest pandava ignored him and on touching the water, fell dead. The elder pandavas, Nakula, Arjuna and Bheemasena approached the lake in that order, and by ignoring the Yaksha they also met the same fate of the youngest brother. The king Yudhistira himself came to the lake and saw his younger brothers lying lifeless with the crane watching. The crane accosted the king with some questions and the learned king gave the most appropriate answers on Dharma. The Crane aka Yaksha reveals in the end that he is the God of Death Yama himself (the father of Yudhistira) and had come to test the depth of knowledge of the king , blesses him and also revives the four youngsters to life. . In the prolonged session of queries, the quintessence of lofty principles of human existence are explained by the good king. The couplets quoted above form part of this conversation.
Yaksha asked:- (1) what is it that covers the entire world? (2) what is it that keeps the world in darkness? (3) what makes a man abandon all his friends? and (4) What blocks a man in his journey to the heaven?

Yudhistira answers. (1) The entire world is covered to its detriment with lack of proper knowledge. (2) Tamas, meaning both lack of light and the ulterior type of emotions, keeps the world in darkness. (3) avarice, that is, tendency not to share the wealth and good fortune with others makes one abandon all his friend.(4) Excessive attachment to mundane things prevents one from elevating himself to heaven.
The most prevalent evil in this world is ignorance and half baked knowledge. Human beings forget their limits under the infulence of these. Physical darkness may be bearable but the evil hablits or tamogunas one develops will keep him and the entire world in darkness. Money is the most efficient destroyer of friendships. And the poor human being loses sight of lofty goals and achievement by just holding fast to silly things.


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