Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yajnavalkya Maharishi -Part 2

................continued from prev. part
1.15 Mama Vaisampayana wish happy married life to Yanjavalkya

Mama Vaishampayana arrived well in time with mami for the marriage of his
maruman Yanjavalkya with Katyayani. The newly wedded couple made obeisance to
them and sought their blessings. They had completely forgotten their anger. They
gladly blessed the couple saying, "May you have all the best in life. May you be
protected always by the grace of all gods and goddesses." Read further…..

1.16 Soorya narayana prayer

Though Katyayani was far younger than Yajnavalkya, yet in speech, in behaviour
and in all respects she proved herself a worthy wife to him.

Yajnavalkya began to observe all the rites connected with the vow of
Suryanarayana very scrupulously. He used to get up during Brahmi. After
finishing the ablutions he would sit in his abode engaged in meditation and japa
of Surya-mantra till afternoon. Then he would worship the Sun god and make an
offering of paayasaanna. That prasada of paayasaanna was all that Yajnavalkya
and Katyayani would take as their food for the whole day

1.16 Aditya gift Yajur Veda

Days passed. One morning as usual Yajnavalkya was absorbed in meditation and in
japa of Surya-mantra. He experienced a greater ecstasy than ever in his
meditation. He saw an unusual mass of bright light coming from the Sun and
flowing towards him. Yajnavalkya opened his eyes. That mass of dazzling
brightness took the form of a horse of red colour. That horse came neighing and
stood before Yajnavalkya. The divine horse said, "Yajnavalkya, I am pleased with
your penance. Tell me what you want."

Yajnavalkya realized that the divine horse standing before him was no other than
Sun god himself. He offered his salutations and prayed, "Please grant me such
knowledge of Yajur Veda as known to none so far." The divine horse vanished into
the mass of bright light. In a winking time there appeared Sun god whom
Yajnavalkya could see in human form with the full splendour. Yajnavalkya again
made obeisance to him repeating the Aditya-mantra.

Then Surya Deva said,. "Yajnavalkya, your body has not yet got the purity and
strength enough to receive from me and Comprehend Vedic knowledge. Therefore
first I shall make the goddess Saraswati enter your body in the form of energy.
Open your mouth."

Thus Saraswati entered the body and mind of Yajnavalkya as energy through his
mouth. Consequently a great heat was produced in his entire body. When he was
suffering from this extreme heat Surya Deva said comfortingly, "Bear this
suffering for a short while. Your body and mind thereby will get purified. Then
only you will have sufficient stamina to grasp and retain Vedic knowledge. In a
few minutes Yajnavalkya's physical suffering subsided. A strange joy ran through
his body. The Sun god blessed him and again merged into the mass of light.
1.17 Yajurveda mantras appear to Yangavalkya
Yajnavalkya stood gazing at that light. Veda Mantras (Incantations) shining
attractively in that mass of light were visible to him. He closed his eyes and
saw them shining in the same way in the innermost center of his heart. There was
a flood of light everywhere! In the midst of that light here and there was the
glow of those fine Mantras. This mystical experience of bliss filled and
overflowed the body, mind and soul, nay the entire being of Yajnavalkya. After
this the vision changed. Again the same luminous horse of red hue stood neighing
in front of Yajnavalkya. As it neighed a divine radiance was emanating from its
mouth! In that radiance the Mantras appeared in shimmering letters for a moment
and merged into that mass of light. Even as Yajnavalkya stood looking intently
at that divine horse, in no time it got merged in that mass of light.
This magnificent vision enabled Yajnavalkya to attain the fulfillment of his
vow. He became a Seer blessed with the vision of Mantras, a maharshi and also
brahmarshi possessing divine knowledge.
1.18 The Great Works of Yanjavalkya

Yajnavalkya resolved to write down his divine experiences and visions of Vedic
truths, in the form of books. Thus the great book 'Shukla Yajurveda' took shape
in his blessed hands. The subject matter of Karma and Jnana has been elaborately
explained in that book. The two Upanishads Ishavasya and Brihadaranyaka which
contain significant thoughts on the Soul and Divine life, similarly seventeen
other Upanishads and 'Shuklas' were all included in the making of the volumes of
that Magnum Opus 'Yajurveda'. Yajnavalkya's fame spread like any thing.

1.19 Yajnavalkya take charge of Gurukula

Sage Uddalaka, one of the teachers of Yajnavalkya, we have read in the last
posting became very old. He was no longer able to manage the affairs of the
ashram. Uddalaka considered Yajnavalkya as the best qualified person to be his
successor for the Gurukula and invited him for heading the Gurukula.

Accordingly Yajnavalkya took the responsibility of heading the Gurukula run by
Uddalaka. The prestige and reputation of this Ashram grew remarkably with the
arrival of Yajnavalkya as its head. Large number of students came to join this
Gurukula. The enlightening lectures and discourses on Vedic studies delivered by
Yajnavalkya, out of his profound and divine scholarship, proved an illumination
of great fortune to the students. Janaka, the emperor of Videha, was eager to
meet him and receive initiation from him.
1.20 Rajarshi Janaka met Yanjavalkya
King Janaka was a very religious man as well as a great scholar. He was a
Rajarshi. Yanjavalkya’s ashram resolved at a meeting to conduct a conference
of scholars at the time of Janaka's visit to the ashram and arrange for the
recitation of and discourse on 'Shukla Yajurveda' written by Yajnavalkya.
Sages and scholars from different places came in large numbers. Maharaja Janaka
arrived at the right time. The conference began. The Shukla Yajurveda was
recited and discussed. Yajnavalkya explained the Vedic mantras wherever it was
necessary. There was discussion and exchange of ideas on those Vedic mantras.
The conference went on for a few days.
Only philosophers of tremendous scholarship participated in the discussion
during sessions. Two woman scholars participated in it were Gargi and Maitreyi.
After the recitation of the Vedas the entire galaxy of scholars assembled there
glorified Yajnavalkya. The august body of scholars accepted Shukla Yajurveda,
the sacred Vedic text, with great pride and pleasure. Yajnavalkya was honored as
Brahmarshi. Most of the Yajur vedies follow Sukla Yajur Veda
1.21 Maitreyi takes companionship with Yanjavalkya

Maitreyi had cherished a desire in her heart to live with Yajnavalkya as his
disciple and a spiritual companion to do sadhana and realize Brahman. But she
knew that if she were to live in companionship with maharshi, people might talk
scandalizing them. She really did not want to marry. She was not after the
pleasures of having children, property or money. Yajnavalkya was already
married. Some times he may not take another wife.

She arrived at a decision after a good deal of thinking. She went straight to
Katyayani Devi wife of sage Yajnavalkya.

"Dear sister, I have a problem which can be solved only by you," she said. "What
is it Maitreyi, please tell me."

Maitreyi told Katyayani about her wish to live with Yajnavalkya as his companion
to get his help in her intellectual and spiritual pursuits.

"I shall be your younger sister and stay in your home observing celibacy. Please
do favour me by your consent."

Katyayani gladly gave her consent. Then Maitreyi met Yajnavalkya, expressed her
desire and requested him to take her. He only said, "Katyayani's decision alone
is final." Just at that time Katyayani walked in. Katyayani and Maitreyi
together bowed down to the feet of Maharshi Yajnavalkya and expressed their
reverence by addressing him 'Bhagavan'. Maitreyi became his spiritual companion.
(My note- In later references she too is told as sage Yanjavalkya’s wife)

1.22 Take the Cows to our Ashram

King Janaka once made arrangements for a Jnana Yaga (a philosophical treat)
setting a rich award. Great sages and scholars from various places were invited
to participate in it. There would be discussion and exchange of thoughts on
matters pertaining to spiritual life supported by their knowledge and experience
of Vedic truths. He who would prove himself the greatest among them would
receive the highest honour and a celebrated award. It was announced that such a
person would be honoured at the end of that Maha Jnana Yaga by ceremonially
placing the crown of Sarvajna on his head. Invitations were sent to eminent
sages. Yajnavalkya also got an invitation of from Janaka.
Many Sages arrived. Maharshi Yajnavalkya arrived with his disciples. Maharaja
Janaka accorded a reverential welcome to all those assembled. “We will elect
the greatest Brahmanishta to the chair of Sarvajna and offer him the crown of
Sarvajna. One thousand cows decorated with golden medallions are kept ready in
the nearby cowshed. The greatest spiritual master in the assembly may take them
Yajnavalkya stood up. Casting his eyes on his disciple-seated close by, he
ordered in a bold and dignified voice, "Samashrava, go and take those decorated
cows to our ashram.†All those assembled there were taken aback. They looked
intently at Yajnavalkya.
Then Aswala, the royal preceptor, said, “Why do you order your pupil to take
the cows home?" asked Aswala. "Because we need them. " Yanjavalkya answered.
"But the cows are meant for one who is established in the Brahman State. By
commanding your pupil to take them to your ashram, you have clearly suggested
that you are one such. That means an open invitation to anyone to place
questions to you. You will have to satisfy them with your answers," said the
court preceptor. To this Yajnavalkya replied with a smile "Welcome. Questions
on Brahman may be put."
1.23 The Crown of Sarvajna

There was a heavy downpour of questions to Yajnavalkya. Some of the questions
put to him were like

- What is it that enables one to become free from death?
- What is a soul?
- What pervades this perceptible world and the sky?

Yanjavalkya answered with confidence and competence to every question. His
replies flowed into the hearts and minds of all the listeners like sacred
Jnana-Ganga. The scholars who had put the questions got satisfied with the
answers of the sage and said, "We bow down to the Brahmarshi."
Then king Janaka stood up and sought the permission of the august body to
declare Yajnavalkya elected to the chair of Sarvajna. The assembly readily
acclaimed it. Maharaja Janaka ceremoniously offered the crown of Sarvajna to
Brahmarshi Yajnavalkya
1.24 Yajnavalkya become King Janaka’s Guru
King Janaka afterwards made a practice to meet Yajnavalkya now and then to
listen to his divine sermons. After some time one day he requested Yajnavalkya,
"Revered Sir, would you please take me as your disciple and accept the offering
of all that is mine, my kingdom, and my wealth?" Yajnavalkya, the embodiment of
renunciation, said smilingly, "I want none of them." All the same, he gave
initiation to Janaka and made him his disciple. (Members may now recollect King
Janaka’s this attitude told by Cho in his serial Engae brahmanan in Jeya TV)
Yajnavalkya led a divine life. He was loved and respected by everybody from all
quarters. He imparted Vedic knowledge to many students. He preached them some
maxims helpful in everyday life so that their mode of living conformed to the
norms of Dharma. In course of time a collection of these practical hints for
religious life became famous as "Yajnavalkya Smriti" (The Code of
1.25 Yanjavalkya Departs from the World

Gradually Yajnavalkya began to feel, "Enough of this material life of the
world." He decided to lead the life of a recluse in the woods spending all his
time in the
contemplation on Brahman. He confided this wish to his two wives. All his
worldly possessions were equally divided between them. Katyayani Devi took her
share as her husband's gracious gift and remained in the ashram as its holy

Maitreyi Devi said, "I don't want any of these things. I want only
self-realization and have no use for these material possessions."

Yajnavalkya got ready to leave for the woods. Katyayani made obeisance to him
and kneeling down with bowed head she prayed to him to bless her. "May your
contemplation on Brahman be fruitful. May you have salvation soon," said
Yajnavalkya blessing her.

Then he proceeded to the Himalayas for doing penance. Maitreyi accompanied him
as an ascetic after doing obeisance to Katyayani Devi .

Both of them were doing penance at the foot of the Himalayas. Maitreyi one day
passed away. A few days later, Yajnavalkya also passed away from this world and
merged into the state of Brahman through his deep meditation.

1.26 The Light of Yanjavalkyas Message

Yajnavalkya became a great man of divine glory by giving Shukla Yajur Veda to
the world. Since it was the treasure of knowledge obtained during daylight from
God, it was called Shukla Yajur Veda.

Since the Sun god appeared in the form of a horse and granted this Vedic
knowledge, it is also called Yajasaneya Samhita (the sacred collection of divine
wisdom coming from the God in Horse form).

This divine message of the Vedas has been conveyed by Yajnavalkya through his
Ishavasya, Upanishat.
1.27 References in Mahabharatha and Sathapatha Brahmana and his contributions
Yanjavalkya was celebrated sage, to who is attributed the White Yajur-Veda, the
Satapatha Brahmana, the Brihad Aranyaka, and the code of law called
Yajnavalkya-smriti. He lived before the grammarian Katyayana, and probably later
than Manu. He was a disciple of Vaisampayana.
Max Muller quotes a dialogue between Yanjavalkya and Maitreyi from the Satapatha
Brahmana (Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 22), in which the sage sets forth his
Yajnavalkya also is represented as inculcating the duty and necessity of
religious retirement and meditation, He is considered as having been the
originator of the Yoga doctrine.
The Maha-bharata makes him present at the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by
Yudhishthira. According to the Satapatha Brahmana he flourished at the court of
Janaka, king of Videha and father of Sita.
Janaka had long contentions with the Brahmans, in which he was supported, and
probably prompted, by Yajnavalkya. He was a dissenter from the religious
teaching and practices of his time.
An article by Edurkala K.Shankaranarayana Bhat, which I read, is the bases
for preparing this write up. I could not get any information regarding birth of
children to sage Yangavalkya.
Yanjavalkya was a disciple of Vaisampayana. He was son of Vaisampayana’s
sister. Maitreyi was his companion in spiritual works. He is remembered for
getting Sukla Yajur Veda from Sun God

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.

 Every moment, thank God