Quite reluctantly, Suka Muni travelled all the way from Meru Mountain to Mithila. He was unaware of the nuances of City life and for the first time ever witnessed himself the full demonstration of subdued virtues and blatant vices, momentary joys and unending frustrations, rare displays of integrity and loud noises of hypocrisy. Even the Gatemen stopped him to ascertain Suka’s personal credentials and made him wait for days together. Finally, some Ministers and Officials enquired about him and found that he was the Great son of memorable Veda Vyasa himself. He was ushered into the palace and welcomed with grand luxuries for eight days and offered him the services of coquettish maids but there was little reaction in him. The Muni met King Janaka in his Court with full blast of music, dance and wine all around as there were festivities in his honour. He was offered a full glass of milk and was asked to greet a bevy of beauties singing and dancing around him.There was absolutely no response whatsoever as his senses and elements were just the same while taking rounds without spilling even a drop of milk. The King who, as described by Veda Vyasa had the Status of Jeevan Mukta or Videha (without body but alive), was astounded at the boy’s equanimity and declared that he might as well return to Veda Vyasa as his son was a paradigm of virtue par excellence and that was most inflexible! But, the mission for which Vyasa referred Suka Muni to the King was to make Suka agree to marry. Hence a one-to-one dialogue was arranged and the process of serious discussion proceeded. Suka Muni argued,- as he had done with his father earlier- summing up that he would rather choose the ‘Vihanga Marg’ (sky route) as against the land route or a short-cut to salvation without wasting his precious life with the experimentations of ‘Samsara’ or the house-hold chores viz. ‘Garhastya’ and ‘karmkanda’. King Janaka allowed the boy to steam off and initiated the process of subtle counselling. He said: ‘Even if human passions ‘seem’ to be under control, the state of ‘Sanyasa’ is not bound to be as easy as is made to be in practice. The term ’Yoga’ is highly deceptive as it presumes overcoming wants ranging from hunger and thirst, sleep and ill health and such bare needs for the meagre existence to medium kinds of wants such as a place to live, a companion to live with, family happiness, medical help, and such other minimum facilities which are not only highly permissible but are infact prescribed in Scriptures. Any fall from the high altitudes of Yoga would be too steep leading again to the low levels of frustration, self-condemnation and helplessness. That was precisely what the Holy Scriptures including Vedas recited by Brahma Himself. He prescribed the step-by-step methodology of Varnasrama. Even Gods and Demi-Gods followed the path of ‘Garhastya’. A person following the normal route would be immune from succesess and failures and could buffer the consequences with equal ease, provided of course one does not transgress avoidable pitfalls. Moreover, in exceptional cases like in the case of Suka Muni, there is the least possibility of unwanted attractions as he would be unaffected anyway. The example of Janaka himself is worth following as he was ‘Videha’ (body less) yet he knew the pattern of Jeevan Mukta or Moksha while Living a Contented Life. Why suffer without reasonable and allowable comforts rather than living morally and normally by still achieving the desired objective of Salvation? There is no need to rule out a view that the World is optimistic if we moderate the senses and control the mind, instead of complaining that the World is a hell and full of misery and meanness. Also, how could one enjoy the effect of ‘coolness’ unless the deadly impact of ‘heat’ is suffered. A Karma Yogi who practises controls and discipline, like a dew drop on a lotus leaf, would have the Golden Mean of enjoying ‘Iham’ (the satisfaction of Good Living) and ‘Param’ (the attainment of the Final Goal)! Having been more or less convinced that Sanyasa yoga for his age and keeping in view the relevant factors might not be unsuitable, Suka sought certain clarifications on a few issues, as though he wished to hear from Videha Janaka for public enlightentment. The issues were related to killing of animals, consumption of wine and attachment to sex. He wondered as to how these habits were permitted in the Scriptures! As regards the aspect of meat eating, Scriptures allowed animal sacrifice for the purpose of Yagnas and specified ceremonies like Asvamedha Yagas, Goat or other Sacrifices of animals and so on but certainly not oriented to indiscriminate killings for the sake of enjoyment of meat eating. Similarly, drinking Soma Rasa is strictly as an integral part of Yagnas invoking Gods through Fire Sacrifices involving elaborate procedures through the chanting of relevant mantras and are of purely religious orientation; for instance, a person performing certain Sacrifices as per established format approved by Scriptures are known as Somayajis and are highly revered. But consumpion of alcohol is never approved for personal enjoyment. So is the case of involvement with women. Indeed no Scripture approved of blanket sex excepting with a lawful wife that too only for procreation purposes in moderated measure and not with comprehensive license which verges with vice or obssession and certainly not extra-marital, in any case.
Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at email@example.com