Saturday, October 16, 2010

Renunciation - continued

Ref : Mahabharata.Santiparva.XI

Conversation between Sakra and ascetics.

A group of brahmana youth out of ignorance took to forest life thinking it to be a virtue. They had abandoned their wealth and family to become ascetics. Indra out of mercy for them assumed the form a golden bird (Sakra) and advises them.

Sakra - The most difficult act is to be live by the remnants of sacrifice (hutashesha). The lives of those who offer to Gods and live by what remains is only worthy of praise and that is the highest virtue that can be achieved. You surviving on refuse are deeply stuck in a mire.

Of words mantras are the highest. The mantras control and regulate the life of brahmanas from birth to death. That is the vedic way of life. One should live in this world considering his soul as a particular God and he shall achieve success consistent with the nature of that deity. The life of the grihastha is sacred and superior and it is the field (kshetra) for success. This is the path of the rishis and enjoined by the srutis. This itself is the path of Gods and Brahma. The austerest of penances are study of vedas, worship of Gods and pitrus and service of preceptors. The highest virtue is to bear the load of domestic life. Asceticism is achieved by leading a domestic life and not by abandoning it. The householder shares with the guests and his kinsmen what remains of the sacrifice. Everything depends on him. He observes his own duties, adheres to vows, is truthful in speech, is respected and he alone achieves heaven.

Hearing these words, the ascetics abandoned the religion of renunciation saying there is nothing in it.