Parasara Become the author of a Purana
Shakti’s wife gave birth to a male child at an auspicious hour. Vasishtha was beside himself with joy at the glow on the face of the child. He named him Parasara. The child grew up healthy and bright. Looking upon Vasishtha as his father, he began to call him so. The mother was sad at the child’s ignorance but she was also worried that if the truth were told, it would be hard for the child to bear. But he would have to face the truth one day! So she told Parasara: “My darling, he whom you call ‘father’ is not your father. He is your grandfather.” Suddenly the child’s face grew dark. “Then, where is my father?” the child asked. “Parasara! your father died when you were in the womb. A rakshasa killed him. Now your grandfather is bringing you up,” she said.
The news creates a storm in the child’s mind, and he vows to destroy the race of the rakshssa-s.
As he grew up, Parasara’s hatred for the rakshasa-s also grew. As a result, he began a long sacrifice called sattra. Hundreds of rakshasa-s, bound by the power of mantric chants, fell in the sacrificial fire and turned to ashes. In course of time the rakshasa race became almost extinct. This brought some cheer to young Parasara.
Who was the sinner?
But Vasishtha was not happy at the turn of events. It is wrong to harm a person because he has harmed us. And it is a greater sin to destroy all the rakshasa-s just because one rakshasa was guilty. He rushed to Parasara and explained to him: ” My child! It is enough that you have destroyed so many rakshasa-s in revenge. Stop this sacrifice (sattra). The demons have done no wrong. Your father was murdered because of his own action. He cursed Kalmashapada who became a cannibal. The king showed his rakshasic nature on your father. Think about who committed the sin!”
In today’s world we see only degenerate men who seek scapegoats for their own wrongdoing. Contrast this with Vasishtha’s character. Even when he had to suffer, he did not blame others, but blamed himself !
A sane Advice
Vasishtha spoke further: “Parasara! Can the wise give in to anger? Anger destroys one’s power of penance (tapasya) and fame. It puts to nought works that lead us to heaven and blunts devotion that is the instrument to gain realisation. Hence great men chase away anger. Good people should be ever filled with patience. Enough of this killing of blameless rakshasa-s. Stop this sacrifice.”
Parasara listened carefully to the good teachings of his grandfather. He recognized the evils that accrue from anger and immediately stopped the sacrifice. Vasishtha was immensely pleased and was full of praise for his grandson.
There upon, sage Pulastya appeared on the scene. He was the son of Brahma and the progenitor of the rakshasa-race, which includes the likes of Ravana. Immediately Vasishtha welcomed him and paid his respects. Pulastya was very happy because Parasara had stopped the sacrifice.
“Child, Parasara! you must be praised for your qualities. Your enmity for the rakshasas is enormous. I know it. But bigger than that is your patience. When you stopped the sacrifice, on being told to do so by my teacher Vasishtha, your gracious quality has come out in the open. You are great, and you know the shastra-s. If you had persisted with your anger and continued this sacrifice, my lineage would have been destroyed. Though you were angry with the rakshasa-s you let them go. So I wish to grant you a boon: My child! You are going to compose a holy purana. Accordingly you will realize the true nature of the Parabrahman: (Devataa – paaramaathyam cha yathaavad vetsyate bhavaan). Besides, you are going to gain faultness knowledge of actions – done with or without motive. This is the good that I can do to you. With my blessings, you will gain all this.”
It is the teacher’s grace that grants one the knowlegde of the true nature of the Supreme Brahman. We see that even those who have studied many shastra-s are beleaguered by doubts in regard to him. We also notice that even an illiterate can gain knowledge of the Lord by grace of the guru.
When Pulastya blessed thus, Vasishtha seconded and ensured the same with his words: “All that Pulastya has said is going to come true.”
When someone state something, it gets further confirmed by another person seconding it. This is seen in everyday affairs. The same thing happened here as well. Parasara followed Vasishtha’s advice and upheld it. He gained the grace of Vasishtha. He also gained the blessings of Pulastya. If one follows the dictat of the teacher, even enemies become friends. This is the lesson taught in this context. It is clear that when one take refuge in elders, one can gain immensely.
To be continued….
This English Commentary is written by smt Prema Nandakumar based on the tamil commentary written by H.H. 45th Azhagiyasingar of the Ahobila Mutt. His Holiness has ‘commented’ only on select chapters of the Vishnu Purana. The English translation faithfully follows the original in this aspect. Words that appear in square brackets [ ] have been placed there to serve as a link and do not form part of the original. Reproduced from Nrusimhapriya.
For Tamil commentary and Upanyasam of Vishnu Puranam, please visit: http://anudinam.org/category/stories/