- Vyasa’s meditation and Suka’s birth : Devi Bhagavatham : 10th and 14th Adhyaya of the First Skanda
- Vyasa desires a son : Devi Bhagavatham : 4th Adhyaya of the First Skanda
- Devi Bhagavatham : 1-3 Adhyayas of the First Skanda
Suka was a perfect student. He learnt the Vedas and the sastras from his Guru Brhaspati and gave him his guru-dakshina. (fee) at the end of his study. He was a perfect brahmachari. (Brahmacharya, is the first stage of a man’s life where he contemplates the Brahman and is a student serving his guru. During this stage he is also required to be a celibate, in addition to his other duties. Of course in modern India any unmarried man is casually referred to as a brahmachari, even if he spends zero time contemplating the brahman.)
When Suka came home, his father, Krishna Dwaipayana, Veda Vyasa welcomed him lovingly and started anxiously searching for the right sort of a bride for Suka Muni, as any father of the present Kaliyuga would.
He told his son, that a man without sons would be kept out of heaven and implored him to marry an appropriate girl. He told him how hard a penance he had to undertake before getting Suka as his son. He did not want Suka going through all that. “Vyâsa deva said :– “O son! I have got you after I had performed very severe tapasyâ, for one hundred years, and worshipped Bhagavân S’ankara in the sole object of having you. O highly wise one! I will ask some king and will give you sufficient wealth for your family expenses. So that you, having attained this much desired youth, enjoy the householder’s life.””
Much as boys today refuse to get married and lose their freedom, Suka also protested. “S’ûka Deva said :– “O father! Kindly say this to me what pleasure is there in this earth that is not mixed with pain. The happiness, that is mixed with pain, is not called happiness by the wise. O highly fortunate one! when I will marry, I will become certainly submissive to that woman; see then how happiness can be possible to one who is dependent; especially to one, dependent on one’s wife. Rather freedom can be obtained one day when one is tied to an iron or wooden pillar; but never freedom will come to that man who is tied by his wife and children.”
He continued, “When I studied first, the Veda in detail, it struck me that the Vedas dealt with the S’âstra of Karma mârga and it is all full of Himsâ. Then I took Brihaspati as my Guru to show me the way to true wisdom; but soon I found that he, too, was attacked with the dreadful disease Avidyâ (ignorance) and plunged in the terrible ocean of world, full of Mâyâ… The house is called “Griha” because it catches hold of a man firmly. So what happiness can you expect from the house which is like a prison? O father! I am therefore afraid.”
(While I respect Suka Muni’s views on Vedas, Marriage and on Brishaspati – I do not endorse them).
Vyasa then tried to correct Suka’s way of thinking. He said, ” O Son! The house is never a prison, nor is it the cause of any bondage; the householder whose mind is unattached, can get Moksa, in spite of his being such. Truthful, holy, earning wealth by just means and performing, according to rules the rites and ceremonies, as stated in the Vedas and doing S’râddhas duly, a householder can certainly get Moksa. See a man who is a Brahmachâri, who is an ascetic, who is a Vânaprasthî or follows any other method or vow, all have got to worship the householder after mid-day. The dharmic householder, too; welcomes them all, with sweet words, and gives them food, with great love and respect, and thus does them an amount of good. For this reason the householder’s stage is the most excellent of all; and I have not seen or heard of any other Âs’rama superior to it. For this reason Vas’istha and other Âchâryas resorted to householder’s life, in spite of their being endowed with great wisdom O highly fortunate one! If one performs duly the rites and ceremonies of the Vedas, there is nothing that is impracticable to him. Be it the birth in a good family, or the enjoyment of heavens say, or be it Moksa, whatever desires, it is fructified to success.”
Then Vyasa explained to Suka that after the Grihastha Asrama, he could take up, Vanaprastha and then finally Sannyasa Asramas.
Suka argued in favour of bachelorhood, he said that neither Indra, the king of the devas, nor the Trimurthis themselves were free in marriage. He said that even the wise brahmans perfect in Vedas had to praise the rich for wealth and for food. ”If there be contentment in the mind, any how the belly can be filled with leaves, roots and fruits; but if there be wife, sons and grandsons and many dependent relatives, then to feed them all, much trouble and anxiety are experienced… So teach me, O Father! the S’âstras on Yoga and eternal truth that will give perfect happiness; no advice in karma kânda (the series of actions) will bring me pleasure. Now advise me how the karmas can be exhausted; how the root of the three sorts of karmas, Sanchita, Prârabdha, and Vartamâna, giving torments of birth, death, etc., the Avidyâ, the great ignorance, can be destroyed?”
Hearing Suka’s answer Vyasa was very disappointed and shed many tears of pain and sorrow. Then Suka wondered at the power of Maya (Devi) who controlled the mind of his father, Vyasa, the expert who had divided the Vedas. He realised that Maya was the most powerful and internally bowed to her, the creator of Brahma and all the Devas. Then he persuaded his father that he had absolutely no interest in the Grhastha and Vanaprastha stages of life and that he would move directly to Sannyasa. He begged his father to show him the way.
Then Vyasa relented, finally moved by his son’s firmness in not entering Samsara, and accepting his son’s rejection of the Agni and Karma Kanda of the Vedas, revealed to him the Devi Bhagavatham, suitable for one, who wishes to avoid samsara (worldly life).
Authorship and Copyright Notice : Satya Sarada Kandula : All Rights Reserved.
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