Faith

Story of Pingala

Bondage and release have their roots in the three gunas that prompt human beings to act. The experiences of grief, sorrow, happiness and pleasure are the result of the gunas and karma. Ignorance and knowledge are the paths to bondage and release respectively. Sometimes, frustrations and disappointments faced by an individual can lead to enlightenment as in the case of Pingala, whose story is related to Yadu by the Avadhuta in the Bhagavata Purana, said Sri B. Sundarkumar in a discourse.

The sage explains how Pingala, who made her living as a prostitute, becomes transformed into a realised soul. Once when no one turns up and half the night is gone, she becomes anxious. But this anxiety is instrumental in causing vairagya in her. It dawns in her inner being that desires bind people into samsara and that vairagya can liberate one from this dilemma. She is able to assess her condition in an impartial manner. She admits to herself that all along she has been deluded into believing that the pleasures derived from the senses could satisfy people.

By opting to this way of life she had squandered her health and mind. She now clearly sees the delusion regarding the apparent happiness in worldly acquisitions and also realises that the body is a mere complex of bones, nerves, blood vessels, skin and hairs and is a nine-gated city filled with impurities. She becomes an enlightened person who is able to feel the presence of the indwelling self who is always an unfailing support to each one and a constant companion of the soul. She is grateful to God’s grace that helped her to realise this truth and renounce worldly attachments and she seeks surrender at His feet. But for His intervention, she would not have been redeemed. The world is caught in the grip of the serpent of Time and when one learns to spurn desires and remains in vairagya one is sure to gain peace of mind. The lesson to be learnt: the more the desires, the more the pain; no desires, no entanglements and only eternal happiness.

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Printable version | May 2, 2021 6:32:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/religion-story-of-pingala/article7379551.ece

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