For people who are involved in worldly pleasures forgetting inner peace and true conscious level. There are many historical incidents that teach them that right path to salvation is Karm Yog. (कर्म योग) Karm Yog is the process of achieving perfection in action. Karm Yog is the most effective way to progress in spiritual life. There is one incident in ancient past of Bharat Varsha which teaches us that moving away from rightful path destroys the person completely even ruining his several births.
Narad Muni (नारद मुनि) Taught The Principle of Renunciation to King Prachinbarhi
King Prachinbarhi (प्रचीनबर्हि) was usually engaged performing various yajans and religious rites. One day Devarshi Narad came to him. He told him that the sphere of Karma (action) was the sphere of ignorance and that while living in the sphere of ignorance one may never achieve bliss.
The king replied—O Lord ! I know nothing than Karma. Kindly tell me about that pure knowledge through which I may relieve myself of the tangle of the karma. Those who consider their family, children and wealth to be everything, they keep wandering about the worldly jungle. I am also wandering likewise.
Narada said—Your Majesty ! You have most brutally sacrificed numerous animals over the altar of your sacrificial rites. Now see, those animals are hovering around and awaiting you. They remember it well that you had subjected them to sufferings and so they are thinking to thrash you with iron rods and torture you on your arrival. So, be prepared for all this.
Having heard so from Narada the king got perturbed. Narada then further added—I am telling you the tale of Puranjan. Listen to it attentively. There was a king named Puranjan. He had a friend named Avigyat. Nobody ever knew what he used to do and how he used to come and go. Puranjan once thought that he would tour throughout the earth and search a proper place where he could live well. He wandered a lot but could not choose a place as he wished to have various worldly pleasures. He wished to have all the pleasures at one place but something was unavailable at one place while something else was unavailable at the other. This made him very sad. While wandering about he reached Bharat Khand situated in the South of Himalayas, where he saw a beautiful city with nine gates having nice enclosed areas, gardens and lattice windows. The city was well decorated with gold and silver. All the conceivable pleasures and enjoyments were available there. He was very pleased having seen all this and felt that the place suited him.
Suddenly a beautiful woman came accompanied by ten guards, each having his hundred wives with him. They had a chief with them accompanied by a five-hooded huge snake for their security. The woman had also arrived in the garden in search of a capable man.
(From Srimad Bhagwatam as told by Devrishi Narad, translation by O.P. Dhanuka, Condensed by HariBhakt.com)
The woman has a beautiful nose, nice teeth, very good cheeks and very beautiful face. She was young having a little dark complexion. She had nice earrings and quite shapely waist. She was wearing a yellow sari. She had a golden belt around her waist and hollow anklet with tinkling tiny bells and was walking gracefully. When Puranjan saw her majestic movements and eyes, he as so charmed by her grace that he asked—‘‘Who are you O Lotus eyed lady ! Whose daughter are you, why are you roaming about in this jungle near the city and how are you related to this city ? Who is this eleventh person besides these ten warriors ? Who are these female friends of your ? Who is this snake that is moving with you ? If you are human please marry me like Lakshmi had married Lord Vishnu and ornate this city. I am a nice, valiant and heroic person. I am infatuated by your charm. I only wish you to please marry me.’’
When he thus described the beauty of the lady, she felt a bit embarrased but subsequently she smiled and accepted the proposal. Thereafter she told about herself—‘‘O honoured self ! since you are asking, let me say that I know nothing about my parents, lineage etc. I even do not know my name and the place I belong to. I simply know that right at this moment I am standing near the city. I do not know who has built this city. I only know that I have come here to live. These are all my friends with me. When all of us as well as the city goes to sleep, this five hooded snake keeps awake and protects. O Lord ! I accept you and you may live with me in this city. My servants would make available to you all types of pleasure. You may live with me in this city, that has nine gates, for a hundred years. How can I not accept an honourable person like you ?’’ Thus Puranjan and Puranjani supported each other and lived in the city for a hundred years.
Puranjan and Puranjani, both were leading luxurious life. Puranjan had become the King of the city. In summer he enjoyed with woman in lakes. Out of the nine gates of the city seven gates were up and two down the city. Five gates were on the eastern side while one each on the northern and southern side and two on the west. Puranjan used to roam about the world through these gates and returned after having enjoyments.
The two eastern gates named Khadyota and Avirmukhi were side by side. Through these gates Puranjan used to visit a country named Vibhrajit in the company of his friend Dyuman. There were two other gates also side by side named Nalini and Naalini through which he used to visit a country named Sourabh along with his friend Awadhoot. There was a fifth gate Mukhya on the east through which he used to visit countries named Bahoodan and Aapan accompanied by his friends Rasagya and Vipan respectively. The gate on the south was named Pitrihu. He used to visit south Paanchal with Shrutadhar through it. Gate on the north was named Devahu through which Puranjan visited North Paanchal with Shrutadhar. He used to visit Gramak country with Durmad through the Aasuri gate on the west and to Vaishas city with Lubdhak through the gate Niriti. There were two blind citizens in the city named Nirwak and Peshaskrit. Although they were blind but Puranjan visited different places with their help for worldly pleasures and enjoyment.
Thus, having visited all these places Puranjan used to return to the inner enclosure of his household with his friend Vishuchin where he experienced the pleasure and attachment to his wife, son etc. So, despite being engaged in various works since he was too lustful and possessed by passion, he was mad after his wife. He followed all her acts. He drank alcohol when she did. Sat with her when she ate food. Smiled when she smiled and cried when she cried. He spoke when she spoke, moved when she moved. When she held something, he held it too. Danced when she danced and sat when she sat. Like a monkey he danced at her bidding and thus the life of Puranjan and Puranjani was progressing.
Naradaji narrated that once Puranjan took a good bow and a quiver and with his army chief went to a forest named Panchaprastha. His chariot was such that it could move in five different movements. It had a seat, two yokes, five armours and seven shields, besides a bridle, five ropes.
Although Puranjan was highly dedicated to his wife but he was so charged by the passion of hunting that he set out having left her at home. Demonish instinct so overpowered him that he lost the sense of compassion and kindness towards other creatures and started killing innocent animals. Here Naradaji tells something very important. He says that Grihasthashram, the second stage or domestic stage of life is there to control the demonish instinct of man.
Puranjan killed rabbit, boar, antelope, porcupine and many other animals. He then got tired, hungry and thirsty and so he came back to his palace. He had his bath, food and drink and relaxed. Then his wife came to his mind. Charged by sexual passion he searched for his wife but could not find her. He asked the maids who replied—‘‘Your Majesty ! we do not know what has happened to your wife. She is lying on the earth, without attire and bed. She seems to be very distressed.’’
Puranjan became restless having seen his wife rolling about on earth. First he touched her feet and then most lovingly lifted her in his lap and said—If some servant has committed a mistake and the master did not scold him, most unfortunate is the servant. It means that you are my mistress and I serve you. I committed a great mistake in not taking you along with me for hunting and instead of scolding me you are lying like this. It is so unfortunate of me. So please scold me, punish and thrash me.
Thus Puranjan tried to please her in many ways.
Life of Puranjan was thus going on. At times he wandered outside while at times he enjoyed the pleasures and miseries of life with his wife and children. This is true with most of the people born in earth.
Puranjan’s persuation finally pleased her and she got up to properly dress up and get ready. Puranjan used to think that his wife was under his control although it was other way round. He always slept on the arms of his beloved wife and never cared either about his own welfare or about the Supreme Being Bhagwan.
From Puranjani he had eleven hundred sons and one hundred daughters. Mot part of his life was spent in bringing them up. He performed various yajnas (यज्ञ) to fulfil his various desires about his children. While doing all this he became old, a state that is unwelcome to anyone.
There was a Gandharva King named Chandaveg. He had with him three hundred sixty very powerful gandharvas and about the same number of gandharvis. From various gates of the city they used to enter and plunder various materials of luxurious life. Puranjan and his companions were gradually being weak and infirm. He was highly perturbed yet he did not keep himself aloof of worldly pleasures as he was unaware that these pleasures lead one to destruction.
Narada says—Your Majesty ! Kaal had a daughter, Kaalkanya, who was in search of a husband for herself but none was ready to marry her. People called her Durbhaga, the unfortunate. One day she met me and wanted to have me as her husband. I refused and she cursed me that I may never stay at a place for long.
The girl then went to Bhay, the King of Yawans and proposed thus to him—‘‘O superior among the yawans, I love you and wish to marry you. Please accept me.’’
Bhay replied—You cannot be my wife. However, through my yoga-vision I have already traced a suitable husband for you. You better marry him. If you ask any one to accept you, nobody would be ready for that. Without being manifested you will have to use force and I would provide you the strength required for it. Now, you become my sister. My brother Prajwar would accompany you. Go to Mrityulok (the earth) and experience s*xual gratification by force with whomsoever you wish. With my army I would be there with you being imperceptible.
Thus accompanied by Bhay, Prajwar and their army the Kaalkanya (the daughter of Kaal) started wandering on the earth. She besieged the city of Puranjan that was being defended by the old snake. The Kaalkayna made her first strike over the subjects of the city. She started having enjoyment and pleasure with the subjects which made them infirm.
The army of Bhay also entered the city through its nime gates and started plundering it. Even King Puranjan was afflicted with various sufferings. Everybody reproached him. Puranjan was in extreme distress. Kaalkanya took Puranjan in her arms and r@ped him. Puranjan lost his prudence and physical strength. Even his wife, children, etc. started insulting him. In course of time Paanchal-Desh got destroyed. Puranjan, however, was strongly attached and kept on thinking about his wife and children.
Finally a day came when Puranjan had to abandon the city and move out. Kaalkanya had completely crushed him. Prajwar set the city on fire. Puranjan could do nothing. The old snake was highly distressed having seen the city burning. The Yawans had attacked his residence also and he had to move out.
Puranjan thought in distress that it was his attachment towards his near and dear ones that made him so unhappy. He did so much for them but has none for company. Now, when he would die, who would look after them ? What would happen to them ?
Narada said that it was not appropriate for the King Puranjan to regret but he had lost his senses and was in deep distress for his wife and sons while they insulted him.
The Yawan king named Bhay tied him with a rope and pulled him. The snake also abandoned the city and went away with the Yawans. Everything was destroyed. Even in such a state Puranjan never thought about his old friend Avigyat.
In the city of the Yawans, Puranjan came across those animals whom he had slaughtered. Now, those animals took their revenge which caused him suffering. Since he had attachment towards his wife (female) till last moment, in his next birth he was born as a (female) daughter in the household of Vidarbharaj. The father made an announcement that he would marry his daughter to most heroic person only. King Malaydhwaj of Pandya defeated everybody and married the daughter of Vidarbharaj. They had a daughter and seven sons who became the kings of Dravid-Desh. In their family succession there were many mighty kings. Malaydhwaj’s daughter was married to seer Agastya. One of seer Agastya’s sons was Dridhachyut whose son was Idhmvah.
Malaydhwaj distributed his kingdom among his sons and proceeded to mount Malay to worship Bhagwan Krishna. Vidarbha’s daughter along with her husband had abandon all the worldly pleasures and was serving her husband with love and devotion. The King Malaydhwaj had in the meantime purified his body, mind and soul through penance. He got so devoted to God that one day while in meditation he relinquished his body. He was motionless in a sitting posture and so Vaidarbhi could not make out that he was no more. After many days when she touched his body, it was cold. She started crying and thought of burning herself in the pyre along with the dead body of her husband, but in the meantime there arrived a most knowledgeable brahmin, who addressed the distressed lady with his sweet voice—‘‘Who are you O lady ? Whose wife are you ? Whom are you mourning for ? Who is this sleeping person ? Do you not know me ? I am your old friend with whom you used to wander about. You may not remember me but let me tell you I am your friend Avigyat. In your last birth you were Puranjan and were searching for a place for enjoyment of worldly pleasures. When you got the place you left me and went away. In fact we are the swans having habitat in the Mansarovar. You forgot all this and could not be convinced despite my advice. You got engaged in five gardens, nine gates, one gate keeper, three enclosures, five markets and the city built with five substances and all this owned by a woman.
‘‘So, O friend ! five gardens represent five sensory organs. Nine gates are the nine holes of nine organs. Three enclosures are strength, water and grain. Five markets are five organs of action, Land etc. Five elements are five substances while intelligence is the lady of the house. So, under the influence of this lady you forgot yourself and as a result this plight of yours.’’
Avigyat further says–‘‘O friend ! neither you nor I do various works. Various contacts have hundred wives each. The five hooded snake is five vital breath–Pran, Apan, Vyan, Saman and Udan. These are the five that properly run the body. Try to remember Puranjani had said about it that when she slept, it kept awake to protect her. When we go to sleep, the Prans keep working to maintain the body. Our mind is the strong leader of ten friends and is called eleventh organ. It is very powerful. Panchaldesh means empire of five subjects having a city. This city of nine gates is the human body in which the soul enters.
While describing the nine gates it was said that five were in the west, two in the north and south and two downwards. Through these gates Puranjan used to wander about with one friend. Narad Rishi explains the meaning that the nine gates are—two eye balls, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth, genital organ and anus. Through these organs one enjoys the worldly pleasures. Five frontal gates in the east are—two eyes, two nostrils and a mouth. Right ear is the southern gate and left ear is northern gate. Western gates are downward—anus and genital.
Going to Vibhrajitdesh with friend Dyuman through Khadyota and Avirmukhi gates means to derive pleasure in the sphere of colour and beauty through eyes, while going to Saurabhdesh with Awadhoot through Nalini and Naalini gate means deriving pleasure in the sphere of smell and fragrance through nose.
Mouth has two functions—to speak and to taste. So there were two friends—Vipan and Rasagya. Their wandering in the sphere of Apan and Bahudan through the main gate means enjoyment through speech and tongue.
The western gate named Asuri is genital and to roam about through it in the Gramakdesh means enjoyment of s*xual pleasure (दैहिक मैथुन).
Niriti gate is anus. Payu organ of anus is named Ludbhak and its place is Vaishas or Narak. It has two blind friends—the hands and the feet with whom one derives various pleasures at various places. Through all these one derives various pleasures while awake and while in sleep, but for how long ? Finally, returning to the inner quarter of the household means returning to one’s soul where mind is the friend Vishuchin. When the soul is introvert, it experiences pleasures and miseries. Puranjani is the intellect that gives rise to various vices and keeps the soul engaged.
There is mention of a chariot in the tale of Puranjan, on which he goes for hunting. This body is the chariot. Five sensory organs are its five horses. The body has two wheels—auspicious deeds and evil deeds. Five Pranas are the five bridles of the horses.
Puranjan goes for hunting spree and kills animals. Killing is sport for Puranjan while those innocent creatures lose their lives. Similarly while enjoying worldly pleasures we commit various excesses.
Thereafter the katha mentions the attack by Gandharvaraj Chandaveg on the city. Chandaveg denotes an era. Year after year pass. Time dominates our body and weakens it while we remain unaware and think ourselves to be young. The 360 Gandharvas and 360 Gandharvis, the companions of Chandaveg are in fact days and nights of an year. They surrounded the city, plundered and went away, which means that by every passing day and night our life becomes weaker and weaker.
There is also mention of Jara, the daughter of Kaal, whom none was ready to marry. Jara means old age which is not welcomed by any one, yet it arrives by force. The Yavan King Bhay (भय) adopted her as his sister and provided her with his soldiers. These soldiers are none other than various physical and mental diseases. During the old age one is afflicted by physical and mental diseases. Along with it was Prajwar, the body temperature that deludes a person.
We may take the spending of hundred years in the said city in two ways. First, we may presume the age of the person to be one hundred years and second, to have a cent per cent co-ordination with the body.
Old age, physical and mental illness although spoils the body yet the attachment of man towards worldly matters does not decrease.
Thus explaining the tale of Puranjan, Narad Muni Ji says that despite bearing various sufferings the soul keeps itself confined to the body for hundreds of years and according to one’s deeds becomes a man in some reincarnation and woman in the other.
So O King Prachinbarhi ! do not try to expand the worldly deeds. Yagnas should never be misused to generate materialistic resources. In the name of farce yajnas, you became arrogant and sacrificed numerous animals committing sins under influence of false ego. Sacrificing animals is never part of Yagna. (यज्ञ) Yagna is performed for the benefit of mankind and communicating with Bhagwan. You have neither realised the mystery of Karma (the deed) nor of worship or adoration. The real Karma is that which pleases the God and the real learning is that which applies mind to God.
Thus Devrishi Narad explained to King Prachinbarhi about the living soul and the Supreme Being.
The king then handed over the kingdom to his sons and left for Kapil Muni’s sanctuary to practise penance, where through his meditation he got united with the almighty Bhagwan.
Devrishi Narad explained the secrets of body, mind, soul and time to King Prachinbarhi so that the Katha is recorded in later years for humans like us to know the secret and purpose of our birth.