Narada seeks replies to a questionnaire and bestows Brahma’s Charity to Kalaap Village

Sage Narad told Arjun that in the context of ‘Daan Pradaan’ or bestowing charity of a large piece of land to a well deserved Brahmana Community; he travelled the World over to identify a Place where satisfactory replies are received to a Questionnaire of Twelve Queries framed by him. The questions were: 1) who knows ‘Matrikas’ well; how many ‘Matrikas’ are there and how many ‘Aksharas’ or Letters? 2) What are the Twentyfive Materials in the domestic or personal context? 3) Who knows the art of converting several women into one? 4) Who is the unique person that knows the ‘Vaakya Rachana’ or the Writer of Sentences connected with Strange Fiction? 5) Who is the learned Brahmana living in an Ocean with full awareness that a ferocious crocodile is always around? 6) Who is the best Brahmana possessing the knowledge of eight-fold Braahmanatva? 7) Which are the foremost days falling at the beginning of each Yuga? 8)Which are the first days of each ‘Manvantara’? 9) Which was the first day that Surya Deva rode in his chariot? 10) Who could explain that human beings are put to tremendous anxiety like a black serpent has? 11) Who is the most intelligent and practical human being in the whole world and why? 12) Who is aware of the two distinct routes available to human beings? Sage Narada could not get convincing replies to the above questionnaire among the several places visited and Expets interviewed as the questions were supposed to be tough! Then suddenly it occurred to the Sage that he could perhaps try out the Kalap Village that boasted of exceptionally renowned Veda Pundits. On reaching there and having posed the questions, the Elders of the Village commented that the questions were indeed very elementary and could as well be replied by one of an unintelligent and dull boys of the village! He asked a boy said to be of an inferior intelligence named Suthanu who gave the replies as follows:

In his preface before answering the questions, Suthanu said that various Gurus normally tended to teach the Scriptures and Mantras, generations after generations, only by memorizing but without necessarily providing the meaning, let alone the implications and intricacies of the stanzas. Indeed a Brahmana who merely memorized the Mantras without realizing the meaning was a mere two legged animal! For example, ‘Aakar’ is known as Brahma, ‘Ukar’ is Vishnu and ‘Makar’ is Siva; the Triguna form of AUM with ‘Anuswarup Artha Matra’ on top of AUM ( in Sanskrit) is Maheswara Himself! How many are aware of the significance of Omkara Mantra?

Coming back to the first question as to how many types of ‘Matrikas’ are there and of how many ‘Ahshas’ or Letters are in the Matrikas, the reply is that there are twenty letters in a Matrika. Besides there are fourteen ‘Swaras’, thirty three ‘Vyanjanas’, ‘Anuswaras’, ‘Visarga’, ‘Jihva muleeya’ or tongue-ended voice and ‘Upadhaneeyas’. Matrikas are called the essence of Language. The fourteen ‘Swaras’ from ‘A  Kar’ to  ‘Auom kar’ represent ‘Manu Swarupas’ viz. Swayambhu, Swarochish, Auttam, Raivat, Tamas, Chakshu, Vaivasvath (the Present Manu), Savarni, Brahma Savarni, Rudra Savarni, Daksha Savarni, Dharma Savarni, Roucha and Bhautya. The current Manu Vaivasvat is Rukara Swarup and his colour is Black. From letters ‘Bha’ to ‘Sha’ are eight ‘Vasus’ viz. Dhuva, Ghora, Sowmya, Apah, Nala, Nila, Pratyasha and Prabhasa. The Letters from ‘Ka’ to ‘Ha’ represent thirty three Devatas. Actually letters from ‘Ka’ to ‘Tha’ represent Twelve Adityas viz. Dhata, Mitra, Aryama, Shakra, Varuna, Amshu, Bhaga, Vivisvan, Pusha, Savita, Tvashta and Vishnu. From ‘Da’ to ‘Ba’are Eleven Rudras viz. Kapali, Pingala, Bhima, Virupaksha, Vilohita, Ajaka, Shasana, Shasta, Shambhu, Chanda and Bhava. Letters ‘Sa’ and ‘Ha’ are represented by the two Ashvini Kumars, thus accounting for all the thirty three Devatas. The Letters ‘Anuswar’, ‘Visarg’, ‘Jihva Muleeya’ and ‘Upadhaneeyas’ stand for ‘Jarayuja’, ‘Andaja’, ‘Swedaja’ and ‘Udbhija’.

About the Second question regarding twenty five ‘Vastus’ or materials for domestic/personal utility, the reply is: These are ‘Pancha Bhutas’ viz. Prithivi (Earth), Apas (Water), Tejas (Radiance), Vayu (Wind) and Akash (Sky); Five ‘Karmendriyas’ (Mouth, hands, feet, anus and genital); Five Jnanendriyas (Ears, Eyes, Tongue, Nose and Skin) and the corresponding reactions viz. Shabda (Sound), Rupa (Vision), Rasa (Taste), Ghrana (Smell) and Sparsha (Feeling) and ‘Pancha Vishayas’ viz. Man (Mind), Buddhi (Thinking), Antaratma (Conscience), Ahankar (Ego), Prakriti (Nature / Maya) and Purusha (Almighty). In other words, the Twenty Five Tatvas of Domestic / Physical nature as above are blessed by Almighty to realize the Self as reflected from Paramatma.

The Third question concerns about the various forms of a woman who is essentially a single entity. The reply is about a person’s ‘Buddhi’ or mental condition which is comparable to that of a woman whose forms and moods are several (Frailty thy name is a woman!). It is the single Buddhi which takes myriad kinds of feelings, reactions and impulses.

The Fourth question relates to a person who exists in a ‘Sansar’ (World) and describes it as an attraction like the beautiful phrasing of an Essay, not realizing that the charm of the write-up is a trap or the ‘Sansar Bandhan’; hence the lure of life is but a powerful bondage!

The Fifth query is about the joy of living in an ocean, being fully aware of the dangerous crocodile nearby.Human beings get enticed to swim in an ocean, despite the risk of life and it is that ‘Lobha’ or attraction which generates ‘Moha’ (obsession) or ‘Maya’, ‘Abhiman’ or deep sense of Belonging, insensitivity to the risk involved, avarice to possess more and more, ignorance and sheer stupidity. All these are ramifications of ‘Vyamoha’ (possessive nature) like desire to secure other’s wealth, woman, and comfort, all at once being dishonest, undeserved and corrupt. The sense of Lobha leads to ego, deceit, anger and jealousy. The lurking crocodile is surely attractive but hazardous.

The Sixth inquiry concerns the Eight-fold  ‘Brahmanatva’ classified as Matra, Brahmana, Srotriya, Anuchan, Bhruna, Rishi Kalpa, Rishi and Muni.  A normal Brahmana by birth and caste is invariably the one who nodoubt has the advantage of ‘Upanayana’ Samskara and Gayatri ‘Upasesha’called Sacred Thread Ceremony but with or without performing Vedic Karmas or duties; this kind of an ordinary Brahmana is name sake only. He who follows ‘Vedic Achara’ or performs Veda Practices being soft natured, fond of loneliness, truthful and pious is a Brahmana in a better sense than a ‘Matra’ type. The better category of Brahmanas are ‘Srotriyas’ who are Ritual, Virtuous, proficient of atleast one Veda sakha (Branch) along with six vedangas, pure hearted and Dharmajnanas. The higher class of Brahmanas called ‘Anuchans’ are well read, Guru Type of senior Vidwans who preach and teach and practise ideal ‘Brahmanatva’. The further higher category is called Brahmanas with worldly wisdom to be able to interpret Principles to practical situations, authorities on Vedas, ‘Samyamis’who have restraint and poise, Tatva Gyan and Senior Guides on Rituals etc. ‘Rishi Kalpas’ are Ashrama Dwellers, Naishthies, and limited Eaters. The Rishis are Dhyana Nishtha Parayanas (Meditation-Centric) and Jitendriyas or victorious of various worldly temptations. Munis are beyond the barriers of Brahmanas and the known norms and controls applicable to them, since they belong to Super Human Beings worthy of worship and possess yogic powers and Siddhhis.

The Seventh query was about the first days of each Yuga. Kartika Sukla Navami was the first day of Satya Yuga, Visakha Sukla Tritiya was of Tretha Yuga, Marga Krishna Amavasya was of Dwapara Yuga and Bhadra Krishna Trayodasi was the opening day of Kali Yuga. Charities and ‘homas’ performed on the Yugadi Days are stated to be hundred days superior compared to normal days.

The Eighth question was about the opening days of each of the Fourteen Manvantaras. These are Asvayuja Sukla Navami, Kartika Dwadasi, Chaitra and Bhadra Tritiya, Phalguna Amavasya, Paushya Ekadasi, Ashadha Dasami, Magha Saptami,  Shravana Krishna Ashtami, Ashadha Pournami, Kartika Pouranami, Phalguna/Chaitra/Jeyshtha Pournamis are all worthy of charities and homams.

That Lord Surya mounted his chariot for the first time was on Magha Sukla Panchami, known as the ‘Ratha Saptami’ was the reply to the Ninth question and austerities and charitities are stated to be highly fruitful bestowing Lord Surya’s blessings to destroy poverty and improve happiness of the devotees.

The Tenth question was about the anxiety of life of any human being; the reply was that who ever has to beg for food each and every day was indeed the most unfortunate one in the world; such a person not only had constant worry through out his/her life but is destined to go to hell after death too.

The Eleventh query was about the Super expert in this frightful world. The reply given by Suthanu stated that the best Daksha of Dakshas was he who realized as to what would happen after death and tried to equip him to perform pious acts so as to minimize the impact of current life and possibly of the previous lives. If a person devotes at least eight months and one day before death or in other words of the last leg of life and possibly as many days of life as possible, would be considered as an Expert.

Finally, the Twelfth question seeks reply about the two alternative routes of attaining Salvation viz. the normal ‘Karma Marg’/ the Dharmic route of enjoying life as also of attaining the high bliss of Moksha after death and alrernatively adopting the ‘Vihanga Marg’ (The Sky route) or straight-away adopt the ‘Naishkarma’ Marg or the ‘Jnaana Marg. If one were not to opt for either route, the concerned human being is as good as a ‘Pakhandi’ or ignorant fool!

Having received the replies to all the Twelve Questions, Sage Narada was thrilled that Lord Brahma (his father) ought to be complemented as the latter’s ‘Srishti’ (Creation) was indeed amazing, since a boy was able to reply the queries. Pursuant to Brahma’s behest, the process of selection was completed and a substantial charity was declared as a Gift to the ‘Kalaap Gramvaasis’ or the Villagers of Kalaap a Huge Area viz. Mahi Sagara Sangama Maha Tirtha. This Tirtha was situated from Kalap Gram by about hundred yojanas by Akash Marg (The Sky Route) and by the Grace of Kartikeya all the residents of Kalaap Gram could be shifted by a long jump. This most Sacred Tirtha was such that there were no proverbial thieves viz. Kama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (avarice) etc. who could rob the immense wealth of Gyan in the Holy Region. Kalaap Gram itself was some hundred yojanas on the mountains of Kedarnath Tirtha. As a result of the Great Charity of Lord Brahma by Sage Narada, some Thirty Thousand Brahmanas of immense quality who were versatile in ‘Adhyayan’ of Vedas and Scriptures and ‘Anushthaan’ (Ritualistic Meditation) got transferred to Mahi Sagara.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham 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