Faith

Lofty ideas, ideal milieu

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The oral tradition makes use of the human faculty of cognising through listening and retaining what is heard through memorising, an exercise for the mind to store what is learned. An ideal situation — where a teacher committed to transmit the highest knowledge and a disciple eager and keen to receive it — had evolved when Parikshit listened to the Bhagavata Purana from Sage Suka, said Srimati Jaya Srinivasan in a lecture.

It is said that despite an impressive and exhaustive list of compositions to his credit, Sage Vyasa felt restless and overcame this feeling only after he composed the Bhagavata Purana on the advice of Sage Narada.

While the Ramayana is a text that teaches us how to live an upright life adhering to Dharma, the Bhagavata Purana teaches us how to renounce the world and seek God. This text has greater depth and symbolism, and is a trustworthy account of the essence of the Vedas. It is capable of alleviating the suffering and fears of the people caught in the thick of Kali Yuga. Sage Vyasa taught it to his son Suka. Suka did not want to be born because he feared the ubiquitous hold of Maya on all beings. Maya spares no one — neither the ignorant nor the learned, the weak or the powerful, rich or poor, devoted or the non-believer. Not even Brahma is exempt from it. Only after the Supreme Lord Himself vouched that he would be untainted and unaffected by Maya did he come out of his mother's womb. Such is the eminence of sage Suka who taught this text to Parikshit.

Parikshit faces imminent death in seven days as a result of a curse for a wrong act he had committed inadvertently. A just and rightful king, Parikshit had consolidated the glory of the Pandavas. He was steeped in samsara and not a yogi or a sanyasi at that point of time. Yet he was not affected by the thought of death because he was a great soul. He developed the philosophical acumen to accept death in its proper perspective.

As he listened to Suka, he proved to be an excellent disciple, attentive to every detail, and eager to get his doubts regarding the philosophical and practical aspects clarified.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:33:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/lofty-ideas-ideal-milieu/article2988449.ece

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