In the last article, 45) Myth or a Symbol? – Story of Puranjana – Part-1., we have explored the way a being/jīva enters a body which is not his. There was a description of kingdom of Puranjana which is the physical body. The episode of the lady he marries is the association of jīva with the bodily aspects like Buddhi, Manas, Prāṇa, etc.
Because we explored most part of the mapping and symbols in part-1, let us go into story and decode the story then and there than revisiting it at a later point. Given the approach of part-1 is in sync with the mind, this part-2 should be straight forward to grasp.
First it must be remembered to whom and by whom the story is revealed. The story of Puranjana is revealed by Sage Nārada to the prajāpati (patriarch angel) Prācīna Barhi. Sage Nārada is one of the grand emanations of Nārāyaṇa who travels on all planes with ease and initiates many of the advanced souls into the complex path of evolution. He is not a person, but a conscious cosmic personality. That is why we see his appearance in almost all the allegories ranging from Satya Yuga to Kali Yuga. Prācīna Barhi or also known as Barhiṣmada is symbol of “Visible SUN“. It was allegorically said that Old Barhi was performing many a sacrifice/Yajña without knowing the meaning/purpose. That means, for eons of time, SUN’s path around Earth, as seen from Earth is causing evolution of many beings. This evolution had the characteristics of
- Living on other beings
- Self defense of the body
These five elements formed as mechanical routine to the beings of Earth due to the SUN’s ignorance i.e., SUN’s consciousness is not yet awakened to ignite the minds of beings on the Earth. The inner-SUN (Sūryāntarvarti) is not yet awakened (just like the Puruṣa is not awakened in us). So, this is a preliminary stage of creation that they are speaking of. Our SUN being one among less evolved Ādityās (out of 12, 7 are said to be highly evolved and 5 are said to be less evolved and these 5 form disciples of the 7 and Nārada, the bridge), this aspect fits logically with the purāṇic lore. When Nārada comes, he suggests Barhiṣmada to know the purpose behind the Yajña/Sacrifice i.e., the goal of cycle of 5 characteristics above. To initiate the Solar consciousness into the divine plan and thus the beings of Earth into the path of self awareness (Ātma-Jñāna), Nārada reveals the story of Puranjana to Prācīna Barhi. He shows how Puranjana fell pray to the mechanical bondage and suggests Barhiṣmada to go beyond what he perceives and immerse himself in the LIGHT of Nārāyaṇa. With this context, let us form a bridge of understanding and move further.
The Bridge (b/w part-1 to part-2):
After all the episodes and mappings mentioned earlier, in part-1, it is important to see what bhagawata says in relation to Puranjana’s lifestyle. It seems that Puranjana was “deceived” by his wife into sensual pleasures. He lived with utmost bondage towards his wife. He could never leave her for a second. That means, a jīva, who is in essence the Puruṣa, identifies himself with the body, becomes fond of it, and hence faces many apparent pleasures and pains. He used all his courtesans for self gratifications. Remember, it was told that Puranjana was roaming to find a nice abode which would satisfies all his desires and he finally found such abode? It meant that only a human life (after passing through many life forms) can quench the thirst of “desires”, per se. With desires come difficulties. The act of self inflicted pain and pleasure is the deception of MAYA in the form of his wife’s battalion (play of lower Buddhi). If Puranjana were to remember that “He is verily the Omniscient HE“, all this would not have happened. But it is the story of every human who is still evolving, and thus, is a LEGEND (that which happens every where, to every one and at all times).
With this bridging paragraph, we can proceed into the Puranjana’s story.
One day Puranjana decided to go for a hunt, for his own entertainment. The hunt episode has the following important points to consider:
- From the perspective of the Upaniṣadic statement “Body is the very chariot (Śarīraṃ rathamēvacha)“, let us understand the chariot of Puranjana.
- His chariot, which is very swift in its motion, has the following characteristics:
- 5 horses: The 5 Indriyās/Organs of senses which always move forward towards an object
- 5 binding ropes: The 5 Prāṇās which bind the being in the body
- 2 wheels: The cyclic motion of wheel implies the ever germinating karma’s positive and negative results (due to our association with them)
- 3 flags: The three Guṇās. They are flags because they stand above all depicting the mode of each act.
- 1 rein: This is the MIND which steers the bodily chariot
- 1 driver: The Buddhi – (male aspect of his wife)
- 2 poles: A pole is symbol of light RAY. The two poles, attached to wheels imply the path of SUN around the Earth causing two time scales: Solar Time which creates many year-cycles and individual time, which creates our life-spans.
- 1 axle: The individual consciousness around whom the above timescales occur.
- 7-layers: The 7 dhātūs/tissues of the body
- Golden Decoration: This shows the predominance of Rajō Guṇa i.e., Puranjana’s urge to hunt and quench his desires.
- 5 modes of motion: The verity movements of 5 motor organs
- 1 Inner Zone: The abode of Puranjana, the Heart center
- 5 bells: The agitation of 5 sense organs (to associate with sense-objects)
- Infinite Arrows: The infinite impulses from Karma of infinite past lives.
- 11000 armies (or army of 11 with 1 leader): The Leader of all, the true MIND.
- It seems that this is the first time Puranjana left his home and his dear wife. He entered place called “Pancha Prastha”.
- His abode is the inner self while his hunt starts from the place of Pancha Prashta = The home for 5 sensual states. So, leaving his inner romance, Puranjana started his journey outward, into the mundane objectivity (through his 5 senses).
- He left his wife implies that he put aside the power of discrimination (Buddhi, his wife) and thus acted like a beast.
- It seems that He has hunt many living beings without any pity and until he was tiered.
- That means, his hunt for the JOY from outer objects went on and on until he was tiered. We humans try to find joy in objects (or try to objectify human relations) which eventually deprive us of our joy and energy. This is what is meant by the merciless hunt.
- There is a discussion on Morality of Killing animals, which I will take in a different article.
After the hunt, he was yearning to see his wife and apparently she too came with his battalion. He then meets her and sees that she is upset (because he did not utilize Buddhi while hunting). He tries to lease her and they live for few years in that forest – Abode of senses.
Thus spending more than half of his life, in the sensual abode, Puranjana begot 1100 sons and 110 daughters. Funny figures, are they not?. They are funny only if understood in literal sense. Let us decode:
- Ēkādaśa Śata Putrān: Ēkādaśa Śata means 1100 in regular terms. Well, why not 1101 sons or 999 sons? Because 1100 is a cryptic number. It should be understood as follows (not as 1100 sons).
- Ēkādaśa – 11 always implies the world of rudrās, who rule the 5 Motor organs and 5 sense organs along with 1 mind. So, the beings begotten by Puranjana have this matrix of 11 (which is us, the humans).
- The second word Śata implies “Infinity” or in Sanskrit. So, Puranjana begot 100s of sons who have the bodies made of 5+5+1.
- Duhitṝr daśottara śataṁ: So, it seems he begot 100 and a 10 more daughters. A very interesting way to put is it not?
- The 10 symbolizes a woman (10th orifice). So, he begot infinite/100s of daughters with 10th orifice unlike the sons who only have 9 orifices.
After a while, he married all his progeny and they too procreated into millions of life-flocks. The dependents started to share his property. The many attributes of one body, the many relations, occupying our thoughts, etc., is symbolized here. As this happened, the greed took over and corrupted the hearts of many and made them feel hatred towards Puranjana. So, basically, the jīva became the enemy of the body i.e., jīva started to rot in the web of mundane associations.
The Enemies Attack:
When the jīva is deeply involved in samsāra, he is at his most vulnerable mode of existence. That is when the time runs fast (the inner being will not even realize that its body is aging so fast and at final day repents) and the nears the body to death. The same is depicted in the following attack of enemies on Puranjana’s kingdom
Chanḍavēga – The running Time:
It is said that a king of Gandharvās, named Chanḍvēga attacked the abode of Puranjana with 360 army groups and 360 groups of their wives, who are white and black respectively.
- Chanḍavēga: The one with ultimate speed. It is the running time. When we meditate, we see time running slow (we feel). When we involve in a sensual activity, like gossiping or binge watching, we feel time runs fast. Chanḍvēga is that aspect of time which we feel as running fast. Because Puranjana is involved in the abode of 5 senses, Chanḍavēga is said to attack him.
- Gandharvas are that group of angels which are lords of periodicity. Their army implies the minute breath, heart beat to the vast sweeps of yugās and kalpās.
- Male aspect and female aspect are inseparable. The relation is akin to Sun and Sunlight. That is why, Chanḍavēga brought 360 pairs of armies – White (the days) and the Black (The nights). These pair of armies curb our life in the packet of “Span of life”. It is advised to look at Mystic Passages 1 – Aswini Suktam, which gives proper clue as to what these 360 and 720 mean.
The destructive trio – Kālaputri, Yavana and Prajwāra:
The story proceeds to give us introduction about these trio. Let us summarise in brief their characteristics:
- Kālaputri is literally the daughter of time. What is the outcome of time? “Age”. As time proceeds, everything “ages”. This age or “old-age”, for time is old, is known by the name Kālaputri. It seems that she is preferred by none. Who desires old-age? Also, she was not allowed into other realms (planes other than Bhu/Physical). That means, except for physical beings, “AGE” does not apply to any other realm of existence.
- Yavana in Sanskrit means the one who separates grain from husk. So, the one who separates the soul from body is known as Yavana King. He is the form of DEATH (to the body).
- He has a brother by name Prajwāra. Jwara means fever. Prajwāra means the one who causes high fluctuations of temperature when a soul is about to leave the body. This temperature difference is what we see in the deaths of old.
This trip was roaming freely on Earth and while roaming so, they encountered the kingdom of Puranjana, the human body. The old-age, the fever/temperature fluctuations in old-age (homeostasis is lost) and the lord of death, forming the holy trio of destruction, started to destroy the Human body, the kingdom of Puranjana.
After the whole kingdom of Puranjana was occupied by the group of Chanḍavēga and the destructive trio, Puranjana was finally chained and dragged by a soldier of Yavana named – “Bhaya“. That means, Puranjana succumbed to fear and lost his light. he even forgot about the ONE friend, Puruṣa-1, Prajñāta, who could have rescued him if asked for. At time of death, the being forgets the god and lives in thoughts of life spent. This is the essence here.
Concept of Hell, Heven and Re-birth:
When Puranjana was dragged into the other worlds, he first faced the threat of those animals which he killed mercilessly. That means, when a person dies, his body goes but not the mind. So, the mind still lingers re-living the past actions’ associations. The first replay would be that of those which affected him the most in a negative way. This is what we call HELL. When the experience of this hell is over, Puranjana visited those he loved. That means, the thoughts of good actions is experienced now, which we call Heaven.
After all this experiencing have worn out, the jīva is again attracted into a body and the story repeats. This attraction depends on the KARMA or the net result of the experience reaming in mental planes. Because Puranjana dies by thinking about his wife more than anyone else, he is said to be born as FEMALE in the next life.
- One may question that if Barhi is SUN and his Yajña is life on Earth, where does Puranjana’s story occurred? Nārada is actually showing Barhiṣmada’s folly to himself through the story of Puranjana which is the essence of his own purposeless sacrifices. So, we can think Puranjana’s stry as the personified essence of Prācīna Barhi’s ignorance.
- When a male(9) unites with female(10), we get 9+10=19=1+9=10=1+0=1, the puruṣa re-born as a babe. Secret of 110 daughters.
- Imagine an onion. Let onion be a cumulative object representing “a human”. It has multiple layers. Let us say, each layer is associated to one of the Kōśa or sheath – Annamaya, Prāṇamaya, etc. When we live, we interact with all the sheaths and this interaction causes some “imprints” on the layers of this onion. As the human treads the path of life, these imprints superpose and keep resulting in a “net imprint”. This net-imprint is what you call “Vāsana”. Now, the different layers of human have different elasticity to retain these impressions. Example: A rupture of a skin on elbow heals quickly. But a rupture to the mind/heart as we often call, takes longer time to heal (or does it heal?! – no it stays as the imprint) and as you go up along the layer-chain, the retaining capacity increases. So, when a soul leaves a physical body, some layers of the onion are lost (physical and the lower-mind). Now, the soul has higher-mind and the other layers and the “Vāsana/net imprint”. This causes the soul or more precisely, the soul+layers to experience the imprints of each layer one by one, starting with the so called “BAD”ones. This is defined as HELL or NARAKA. See, how when we are asleep, we dream and the experience can not be differentiated to the reality? The same happens in the case of Puranjana’s death.
- The cover pic denotes the hovering of our consciousness by the clouds of worldy associations.
- All the decoding we did in part-1 and part-2 are very clearly and briefly instructed to Barhi by Nārada at the end of this saga. Barhiṣad asks Nārada to explain the symbolism, as he puts himself in the shoes of ignorant. So, this episode of Puranjana is peculiar and unique inthe sense that, the scrioture itself gives a key as to how to unlock it. What Nārada says to Barhi is the end results – i.e., Naḷini and Nāḷini are nostrils, Chanḍvēga is time, etc. What we explored in part-1 and part-2 is the logic and foundation behind such mapping and also an intuitive approach taking help from other scriptures.
This story of Puranjana packs the sublime of the wisdom in relation to human birth, re-birth, death and life spent on Earth. No matter which era we are in, the TRUTH still holds. The reason being, it is part of the Divine drama and this drama needs to be studies, contemplate, understood and learnt. That is why Nārada suggests Prācīna Barhi this saga of Puranjana. The later discussions of theirs, form a moral summary, which we may touch upon later.
So, in part-1 and part-2 we explored our own life story, which has been running since eons of time. Let us learn to recognize the best friend of ours, Prajñāta/Puruṣa-1 and save ourselves from the cyclic association to the false identity of the mundane-self.