BhagavAn vaSishTha said: O rAma! for the sake of establishing the nature of mAya, the source of all duality let me narrate about gAdhi. Don’t think the gAdhi as the father of sage viSwamitra. This gAdhi is a brahmaNa who lived in the kOsala kingdom. He followed the life as prescribed in sAstras and about the middle age, he left the social life to perform penance towards lord vishNu.
After 8 months of severe penance, lord vishnu appeared to gAdhi and granted a boon. gAdhi asked: O lord, mAya, your unique potency that brings up the world, which is the cause of ignorance, which is difficult to surpass. I want to experience the mAya. Please grant me.
Lord vishnu said: “O gAdhI! you will experience my mAya. Having experience, you will cross it. Let your wish come true!”
Having gained this boon from SrI Hari, gAdhi started living next to the tank in a small hut. Everyday he is waiting for experiencing the mAya. One day he got into the tank to take bath as usual, but his mind is not in its peace. As per the procedure he is taking a darbha grass and whirling in the water reciting the snAna mantras, gAdhi’s mind started freezing. gAdhi’s body became like a pole and stood in the middle of the tank. His mind started experiencing various experiences.
gAdhi has seen himself in his hut, he has some disease and his health is in critical situation. All his relatives arrived there, his wife is crying at his feet, his mother is asking him some questions coming near to his face. As all relatives and friends witness, gAdhi’s life left his body. After confirming the death, relatives took the body to the burial ground and performed the final rites. They all dispersed to their respective places.
gAdhi’s jeeva is seen in the womb of a tribal lady. gAdhi has seen it in a helpless state like a small worm. It is struggling to come out of the womb. After a while the child got delivered. He is grown to 16 years of age and living like a tribal in the forest. He is very aggressive, killing several animals and leading the group. He married a suitable girl from the tribe. Over a period of time he is conquered by the old age. Unable to hunt and earn, his family deserted him and he started living in a hut away from the tribe. Unable to bare the loneliness, with a miserable mind he walked to a nearby kingdom named kIra dEsam.
As he entered the capital of the kIra kingdom, there is some event happening. He was unable to figure out what type of event was that. All the people are looking sad but on the streets. There is an elephant going around in the streets with a flower garland. As it moved few time here and there it finally came near the old tribal and put the garland on his neck. Minsters came to him and took him to the king’s palace and put him on the throne as their king passed away suddenly and he has no heirs left. As per the custom they used the court elephant to select the next king. In that way the old tribal has become a king without anything been asked.
He ruled the kingdom about 8 years in the name of gavala mahArAja. But his tribal tendencies were not keeping him peaceful in the palace. One day without any royal attire he came out into public. Some members of his tribe came to sing and dance in a public procession in the city and they recognized this man as one of them. The tribal said “O kanTajA, how come you are here? What are you doing? Did the king liked your singing and dancing and kept here?” In this way his original identity got revealed to the people of kIra dEsa.
Having known that the king is from a very low social status, ministers and other stopped respecting him and some of them taking it as an insult started protesting by putting themselves life on the fire. By looking at the protest, the old tribal also felt very bad and he also jumped into one of the burning pyres and gave up his life. As the gavala maharaja jumped into the fire, the gAdhi in the middle of the tank started the consciousness and thought: “I am gAdhi, a brahmaNa who is righteous, I am nothing to do with this kirAta rajya nor with kIra rAjya” – He came out of the tank and started living in the hut again.
He was contemplating: “Who am I? what have I seen? How all my relatives have come here? I do not even remember my mother. Why has she came and cried for me? I am not even married. Who is my wife crying for me? How can I see my own death? So, all this is only a delusion”
After a few days one maharshi came that side. gAdhi invited him as a guest. After revering the maharshi, both gAdhi and maharshi shared the available roots and fruits and started taking rest.
They both engaged in the discussion: gAdhi asked the new sage, swami, why are you so weak and lean? Where are you coming from?
sage replied: O gAdhI, I am coming from kIra dESa, there is a tribal who ruled the kingdom for past 8 years in the name of gavala maharaja. I was staying there for a month with a brahmaNa who was serving him. After the truth came into light, several people gave up the lives. That tribal also gave up his life. I am doing prAyaschitta in three kRcca and cAndrAyaNa vratas. You know performing kRccha and cAndrAyaNa has a lot of upavAsas – after the performance of these fasting vratas, I came to this deep forest to get a pAraNa from a sage like you to purify myself. Now I feel pure as you have offered me the root and fruits. —- Having said this, the new sage left the hermitage.
Having heard this, gAdhi got astonished. What! me becoming a tribal and eventually becoming king of kIra dESa is a delusion. How come this new sage is saying that as reality. Let me verify. Having thought so, gadhi started as per the directions given by the new sage towards kIra dEsa.
He arrived at the bhUta mandalam, where the tribal lived. He has seen the hut where the tribal kanTaja lived. That place is now appeared abandoned but he could see all those that were experienced by him in the delusion. The walls, the old mats, the bones of animals in the back yard etc., It exactly matches with his delusive experience. He went into the hamlet and inquired about the kanTaja. Everyone said the same story has gAdhi experienced. Feeling astonished, he left that place towards kIra dEsam having inquired the people there, they all said exactly what the new sage said.
Having heard all these, gAdhi lost his mind. How come a delusion can be true? How yesterday’s dream become true today? What is delusion? what is true? who created all this? O, may be this mAya is caused by lord vishnu’s boon. Let me verify. He entered a cave nearby and started performing the penance.
After one and half years of penance with only one mouthful of milk everyday, lord vishnu appeared in front of him and said: “O gAdhI, you wanted to see my mAyA and you have experienced it. Even after that why are you performing this penance?”
gAdhI said: O lord, your mAya is great. I now know the power of delusion on the mind. But it is still not clear. When I was frozen in the middle of tank, I have seen in a short duration of time nearly 80 years of my life as kanTaja and gavala maharaja. Now in reality I am here and people are giving a testimony of me coming here as a old man and ruling the kingdom for 8 years and giving up the body by jumping in to fire. How the duration of time can be reconciled?
Lord replied: O gAdhi! you are thinking there is internal world different from the externally observed world. In reality both are creations of your mind alone. All the three distinction of the time are created by mind alone. What is past experience, your mind takes the shape of those experiences when you remember them. What is in future is imagined by the mind and What you are experience as present also a modification of mind alone. So, all the three distinctions of time are only mental modifications.
There is no other sage, no coming and inquiring and no experience outside. All of what you had only a single delusion. So, carryout your normal activities. Said Lord vishnu and disappeared.
But, gAdhi maharshi is still not convinced. Lord said, I had only one delusion. But I have seen it as a dream like delusion and then having affirmed about this by a stranger sage, I went and verified. Let me go again and re-verify the situation. Then I should check with lord again. Having thought this way, gAdhi went again to see the bhUta mandalam and the kIra dEsam. He has got evidence exactly in the same way as earlier — All those events are confirmed by people there.
gAdhi again started penance towards lord vishnu. After not so long, lord vishnu gave his darSana. gAdhi exclaimed:
“Swami, you said I had only one delusion. But I have gone back to those places and got the evidence of those events happening exactly as seen in delusion. How come the delusive experiences are experienced by so many others in those places? Please clarify this doubt for the sake of bringing peace to my mind.
Lord Said: O gAdhI! in a tribal village, on its outskrits there is an abondaned house. For some funny reason you imagine that house being yours. Somehow you link your experiences with the place and coincidentally attribute it to be yours. This is another delusion. When four friends walk across a sea shore all of them see a shell and think it as a silver coin. All four of them go near it and realize it is only a shell. Is this not a collective delusion? In the same way a delusion can be coincidentally experienced by multiple beings at the same time? Is there a rule it should not happen that way? NO. This is called as kAka-tAlIya nyayam means a crow stands on a palm tree and the palm fruit falls. There is no cause and effect between these two events. They appear to be so for crow and all the bystanders as well. The causal relation between these two events is a delusion. You can’t limit the delusion to yourself alone. Imaging that there are ten friends who are equally drunk and all of them feel the mountains are rotating and they all feel the same. But the rotating mountain delusion is not true.
In essence, there is a clear possibility of samAna bhrAnti to multiple people at the same time. As SrI hari continuing this, gAdhi interrupted and said: Lord, you are saying everything is a delusion, but in the time we see some order. There is rain in rainy season and heat in the summer. One season is giving one type of experience and other another. How can we say all this is delusion when such an order is experienced?
Lord said: O gAdhI! what is this time? It is relative to the Sun and Moon you observe. Is there a time absolute beyond these observations? All these are created distinctions of the mind alone. There is no absolute time beyond the mind. If any such absolute time exists, then it can’t be different from the self. So, such an absolute time is another name of self. So, this temporary experience of order in terms of seasons is also a delusion experienced by the mind. At the same time all those who are in a place experience similar climatic conditions. Due to the mutual affirmation you develop a feel of reality in the delusion. That’s it. — having said this Lord disappeared.
gAdhi spent another few months contemplating on this teaching of lord but could not come to a conclusion. He could not accept that all this being a single simultaneous delusion. He again started to perform penance. In a short while SrI hari appeared again.
gadhI said: bhagavAn, My confusion is growing as I think about my tribal life, king life and this life. All your explanation till now is not clearing my doubts. This time, I want you to completely clarify my doubts.
Lord SrI hari said: O brahmarshi! listen carefully. All this world is nothing but delusive experience. The root cause of all this delusion is forgetting your true nature of self. Only due to such forgetfulness everyone is experiencing some thing. Let me explain what happened:
Once upon a time in bhUta mandala a tribal was born with the name kanTaja. Eventually he became the king of kIra dESa. He later jumped into fire and gave up the body. His story has reflected in your mind when you are taking bath in the tank. It just did not reflect. You got immersed in that reflection. You become one with this body mind complex known as kanTaja in that story. So, you forgot your identity and assumed the identity of kanTaja in the mental reflection.
For a realized person this mis-identification will not arise.
gAdhi asked: Lord, will there be no identification to the realized sage?
Lord replied: There are two types of identifications. One is to identify with a limited being just like one body and mind as self and the other is to identify with the whole of the experience. If you have identified with whole of the experience you would not have any pain or pleasure from it. This sarvahambhava of identifying with everything in the experience will not cause trouble; the trouble is with the parichhina ahamkara of identifying with one small being within the experience that brings an individual into cycle of repeated births and deaths. A realized person goes beyond both the types of ahamkAra.
gAdhI asked: What about the solution for me? Lord replied: tapas is the only solution for this. In this same cave perform another ten years of tapas. you will be released from all the mis-identifications.
Following Lord’s suggestion, gAdhi became a jeevanmukta and spent his rest of life unattached to any kind of delusion!!
My Notes: So, the root cause of delusion is not really in the delusion itself. But in a limited identification with it forgetting the true identification as a witness to the whole of it!!
Sharing this post on the occasion of my Guru’s third year aaradhana day i.e, jyEshTha Sukla tritIya of SrI hEmalambi year.
This covers sargas 44 to 50 in this post. It is highly recommended to study the original to get the truth of mAya in lord’s own words.
om tat Sat