The Secret to the Source of All Energy
THE DEVA-YAKSHA DIALOGUE
Once there was a battle between the devas and the asuras. Due to the power of Paramãtmã the devas won. However, the devas forgot about the grace and the all-doership of Paramãtmã and became arrogant. They began to boast, ‘अस्माकमेवायं विजयोऽस्माकमेवायं महिमेति’ – ‘Asmãkamevãyam vijayosmãkamevãyam mahi-meti’ – ‘This victory is due to our own effort and strength. This is our own glory.’ Compassionate Paramãtmã thought, ‘The asuras were overcome through my grace, but now the poor devas have been overcome by evil (asuri) instincts. If this arrogance increases, the victory over the asuras will only result in misery. To attain true bliss, the devas should attain the knowledge of who is the root source of all energy.’ With this thought, Paramãtmã took the unusual form of a yaksha (a deity). As they celebrated, the devas saw this yaksha but could not recognize who it was (Kena Upanishad: 3/2). Agni-deva (the deva of fire) was sent to inquire further. Before Agni-deva could ask anything, the yaksha asked, “Who are you?” (Kena Upanishad: 3/2.)
‘अग्निर्वा अहमस्मीति। जातवेदा वा अहमस्मीति।’ – ‘Agnirvã ahamasmeeti. Jãtavedã vã ahamasmeeti.’ – ‘I am Agni,’ he replied (Kena Upanishad: 3/4).
The yaksha asked further, ‘तस्मिंस्त्वयि किं वीर्यम्?’ – ‘Tasminstvayi kim veeryam.’ – ‘What is your ability?’ (Kena Upanishad: 3/5).
‘अपीदं सर्वं दहेयं यदिदं पृथिव्यामिति’ – ‘Apeedam sarvam daheyam yadidam pruthivyãmiti’ – ‘I can burn anything on earth,’ boasted Agni-deva (Kena Upanishad: 3/5).
Hearing this, the yaksha placed a blade of grass in front of him and asked him to burn it (Kena Upanishad: 3/6). Agni tried to burn it with all his might, but ‘तन्न शशाक दग्घुम्’ – ‘Tanna shashãka dagdhum’ – ‘he could not burn the blade of grass’ (Kena Upanishad: 3/6). Therefore, embarrassed and disappointed, Agni turned back without obtaining any information about the yaksh. He told the devas, ‘नैतदशकं विज्ञातुं यदेतद् यक्षमिति’ – ‘Naitadashakam vignãtum yadetad yakshamiti’ – ‘I cannot understand who this yaksha is’ (Kena Upanishad: 3/6).
Vayu-deva (the wind-god) was then sent. He also had the same conversation with the yaksha. ‘What is your ability?’ the yaksha asked.
‘I can blow away everything on earth!’ replied Vayu. The yaksha put a blade of grass in front of him and asked him to blow it away. Vayu tried, but it did not move at all. He tried again with all his might, but the blade of grass did not move even the slightest. His ego was shattered. Embarrassed and disappointed, he did not even remember to ask the yaksha who he was, and returned, crestfallen.
When both these devas returned unsuccessful, Indra himself prepared to go. But when Indra reached the spot, the yaksha disappeared. In his place, Indra saw a beautiful woman. It was the goddess Parvati. Indra asked her about the yaksha. She revealed, “The yaksha was Paramãtmã himself. It is due to him that you were victorious against the asuras.” Hearing this, Indra realized that they had been falsely arrogant and that the true glory is that of Paramãtmã’s since he is the all-doer. Indra humbly departed and Parvati disappeared. Indra then informed the devas. Being the first devas to attain the knowledge of the all-doership of Paramãtmã, Indra, was considered to be the greatest amongst them.
The essence of this conversation is that evil (asuri) instincts can only be overcome by the grace of Paramãtmã. Without his strength and will nothing can be done to even a blade of grass. Therefore, one should never be arrogant.
Let us now understand the means given in this Upanishad to grasp the essence of Paramãtmã’s all-doership.
‘Pratibodhaviditam matam’ – ‘This statement can be understood through pratibodh’ (Kena Upanishad: 2/4).
Pratibodh are the precepts understood from the guru in order to understand Paramãtmã’s form and qualities.
The understanding of Paramãtmã’s all-doership is exemplified in the guru’s life. Thus, he strengthens this understanding in our lives through his words and actions.
In 1970, some devotees who were descendents of Bhaga Doshi (a staunch devotee from Botad in the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan) had come to meet Yogiji Maharaj in Mumbai. While meeting Yogiji Maharaj, they said, “Swami! You have attained a great feat. You have done what hadn’t been done even in Shriji Maharaj’s time. You have spread satsang outside Gujarat, even to London.” Hearing this Yogiji Maharaj said, “What are you saying? You shouldn’t say that. Shriji Maharaj is the all-doer. It is by his grace that satsang increases. Who are we? If a dog walks under a cart and believes that he is moving it – then it is wrong. It is Shriji Maharaj who does everything. Victory is by his grace.”
Guruhari Pramukh Swami Maharaj once said, “Just like a puppeteer remains in the background and controls the puppets in a puppet show, Paramãtmã controls the strings of all. It is his great energy within us. That is why we are able to do whatever we do. Everywhere in the world it is by his energy that anything is done. Therefore we should remember that all the credit goes to him.”
We should repeatedly reinforce this precept of pratibodh.
One who imbibes this divine understanding in their life also attains a reward just as divine. This is shown in this Upanishad.
THE REWARD: IMMORTALITY
‘अमृता भवन्ति’ – ‘Amrutã bhavanti’ – ‘One attains immortality’ (Kena Upanishad: 1/2, 2/5). Immortality means ultimate liberation. Knowing Paramãtmã as the all-doer means that one is free from ignorance, desires, evil-instincts and misery. However many activities a person does, he does not feel the slightest burden of them. He doesn’t get tired or fed up. His ability to work remains ever-fresh and continuously increases. He cannot be shaken by praise or insult. He always keeps a steadfast intellect. He has attained liberation and is therefore absorbed in happiness, peace and supreme bliss.
On 4 July 2003, in Ahmedabad, at 11.00 a.m., the head of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, Prof. Mangalbhai Patel, came for Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s darshan. He asked Swamishri, “How do you run all these 500 mandirs and spread satsang internationally so calmly?” Swamishri smiled, joined his hands and said, “I don’t run them. It is Paramãtmã who runs everything. He is the all-doer. If we believe we are the doers, then in some actions we will succeed, and in others we will fail. Then we become disappointed and lose heart. My guru Shastriji Maharaj taught that if we carry a pot of water on our heads, we constantly feel its burden. But if we dive into water, we have tons of water above our heads, yet we don’t feel the slightest burden. That is why we constantly believe that we don’t do anything, it is Paramãtmã who is doing everything. That is how we run this organization.”
On 20 July 1985, in London, as a mark of their devotion, the devotees weighed Pramukh Swami Maharaj with sugar-crystals, and in turn weighed the sugar crystals with gold. Swamishri’s address on this occasion reflects his feelings and understanding. Swamishri said, “First, I bow to Parabrahman Sarvãvatãri Purna Purushottam Bhagwan Swaminarayan, who gave me this body. Second, I bow to my gurus Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj, who blessed me and accepted me. Without their grace I would not be standing here. Nothing happens without Paramãtmã’s grace. The belief that ‘I am doing this’ is false. Paramãtmã is the all-doer. Even a dry leaf does not move without his wish. Without the grace of Paramãtmã, no one is capable of doing or saying anything. Everything is created, sustained and destroyed by Paramãtmã’s energy. If we understand this glory then we will no longer be egoistic. Without Paramãtmã’s energy, even a roasted popadom cannot be broken.”
That same day, someone came to meet Swamishri and insulted him with inappropriate words. Nevertheless, there was no disturbance in Swamishri’s feelings. He remained in the same internal state of bliss during the insult as he had during the grand honour in front of thousands of devotees just a few hours earlier. This is the astounding result of understanding that Paramãtmã is the all-doer.
The Upanishad then explains the importance of immortality.
REALIZE THIS IN THIS BIRTH!
Life is uncertain. No one knows when death will come. In such circumstances there can be no delay in understanding this. One can’t keep peace on hold. One can’t wait for happiness. That is why the Upanishad says, ‘इह चेदवेदीदथ सत्यमस्ति न चेदवेदीन्महती विनष्टिः’ – ‘Iha chedavedeedatha satyamasti na chedavedeenmahatee vinashtihi’ – ‘One who has attained the above understanding has attained true liberation right here. Otherwise one should be understood to have suffered the greatest loss’ (Kena Upanishad: 2/5).
Therefore, we should put aside our laziness and negligence. We should surrender to a guru, accept his precepts and thus attaining the grace of Paramãtmã we should attain immortality in this very life.
उक्ता त उपनिषद् – THIS IS THE ESSENCE
In this way, Paramãtmã is the all-doer. He is the one who gives the indriyas and antahkaran their ability. We should not be falsely arrogant and believe that ‘I am the sole doer’. Thus, giving the disciple the key to liberation and peace, the guru concludes, saying, ‘उक्ता त उपनिषद्’ – ‘Uktã ta Upanishad’ – ‘This is the essence. This is the Upanishad. I have passed it on to you’ (Kena Upanishad: 4/7). Thus, we have obtained the essence of the root source of all energy in this Upanishad.
Translated by: Sadhu Paramvivekdas