Body is the chariot, life is the voyage, senses are the horses, who should be the charioteer? Not our mind or intellect, but Parthasarathi-Sri Krishna should be our charioteer. Then it would be a safe and successful voyage. Salutations to such a great charioteer!
Baahuka vowed to take Rituparna from Ayodhya to Kundinapura in one day. But it wasn’t an easy path. The path was through forests, hills, rivers and it was approximately 1200 miles long. Baahuka takes the voyage as a challenge. Nala had lost everything for the sake of truth, but not the truth itself. So his vow that he would travel in a single day and reach there was meaningful. It would not be untrue. The king was happy listening to his vow. Making Baahuka accept the challenge was a significant task for the king; because there was no instance where Baahuka had accepted to do a task and had not done it. Now Baahuka accepted when no other charioteer accepted. The satisfied king asked Baahuka what was his wish and that would be fulfilled by him. Those days it was common to offer something when kings were satisfied. Moreover, the king had to keep Baahuka in good terms. But, Baahuka left as if he didn’t hear at all. He didn’t pay attention to the king too. Instead he told that he had to prepare the chariot and went away. It may be due to two reasons. Having been an emperor himself, he would have told the same words for hundreds of people and when someone else tells him the same, he would have felt different. Also, what he wanted was the lost spouse and children. Could Rituparna give them? And even if he gave, could Nala’s self-prestige allow him to accept?
Even Raama, when he was asked by Guha to accept his hospitality, he did not. He told that he could only give and could not take. He accepted just water and slept. Raama did not accept anything as an alm. In case of Sugreeva too, only after helping him to get back his wife and kingdom, he asked for help. And even that was according to their friendship agreement. A great Kshatriya never asks. On the other hand, what would Nala feel like asking for, when he has heard the news of another marriage of his wife. He first wanted to know Damayanti’s mindset. So he was busy thinking of the chariot to travel. He went to the horse field and was testing which horse to choose. Choosing is very important in life. Choosing between this or that leads to confusion. Among many ways, it is possible to reach the destination only if the proper one is chosen. A long route chosen reaches the destination slowly while the wrong route chosen doesn’t reach at all. So one has to make a proper choice. That is why our ancestors prayed “धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्” (Awaken our intellect). We need the right intellect and God’s grace to achieve anything. We need the support of our previous virtues too. God doesn’t come with a stick like a shepherd to protect us; he just awakens our intellect. He gives the required inspiration at the right moment. In the same way, for running a state efficiently, proper person should be at a proper position. This is political science. Even we see the same with the elephants, horses and other pawns in chess. We can win the game only if they are placed at correct positions. Even slight mistake would facilitate enemies to enter in which would lead to destruction. Nala wanted proper horses to make the impossible task a possible one. He could talk to any horse as he was a knower of Ashvahridaya Vidya. He could talk lovingly to horses and grasp their minds. He needed the best among the horses for his task and was in search of them. He had to obtain back everything he had lost in the gambling game before. So he carefully searched for the correct horses. But Rituparna was impatient. He was in a haste and thought that Baahuka was wasting time choosing the horses. Baahuka didn’t even look at the king, he continued to do his search without listening to the king. He chose 4 horses. They were so lean that it seemed that they had not eaten anything for 6 months. But this was just an apparent view. Truly those horses were efficient and could travel through any path. They were fully radiant with their self power. The same is true with humans; it is not that only those who have a gigantic body or have a good skin tone are useful. It is important that they should have the power and radiance. Those who have their self radiance, only they can achieve their work. We worship the cows because they have that radiance. The horses chosen by Baahuka were born in good breeds and were self radiant. The breed or Kula (clan) is also important. Some may get offended if we say about Kula. Ok, lets call it genes- the hereditary. If our ancestors played cards, there is a probability that such quality may be inherent in us too. Their diseases may get transferred to us and so as their interests. The genes describe the personality of a person. What we are is decided by what our ancestors were. So the Kulas were considered to be important. People these days say that it is improper to talk about Kulas. They talk about genes. Kula means the same. It has a meaning. If anything is practiced for many generations, they become embedded in the genes. For this reason the horses of Sindhu region were given priority. Also their character: they should naturally run fast, they should not wander with fickleness but should go only towards the destination, they should listen to the owner’s words. Nala was carefully examining all these traits. But Rituparna had no clue about it, he was just asking to employ 4 horses. Baahuka knew that employing any 4 horses would not get the job done within the day. The horses should not have any ill trait. It should be examined from the tip of the tail to the mouth. The horses should have big cheeks, ten hair whorls, a fast pace and a lean body. How can they drive the heavy chariot if they themselves are heavy? The king got angry looking at the thin horses and said wrongly “What are you doing Baahuka? Are you planning to cheat me? You shouldn’t be doing this. Can these thin horses drive the chariot? Can we think of such a long travel with these horses?”. But poor Nala didn’t even know to cheat any one. But he himself was cheated badly. Baahuka told “Two on the forehead, two on the head, two on the sides, two more on the body and two on the chest- totally a horse must have ten whorls. This is the best way for a horse to be. If you show any other horse having these traits, I will tie them. With these horses, it is my responsibility to drive you to Vidarbha. Or else it is your wish”.
When the skilled ones are working, the unskilled ones should not interfere. They should just watch. Nala may have been Rituparna’s charioteer because of his misfortune; but his personality is of a king. He had much more greater personality than Rituparna. When Baahuka told his opinion staring at the king, the king himself was shakened. He told “Baahuka, you are the knower of Ashvahridaya Vidya. You are the charioteer. Let it be your choice. Drive me to Vidarbha.” Though we may be a king, we should not interfere in every matter; we should give freedom to the subordinates without which no job can be done.
Decentralisation it is called, without which there will be an atmosphere where no job can be done. As soon as Baahuka tied the horses to the chariot, Rituparna hastily climbed onto it. Then the horses fell down though they were the best. Baahuka went to the horses and pampered them. What happened actually was the horses thought that Rituparna was not their master and were intolerant towards him climbing the chariot. They showed their resistance against it. According to them, the real owner was Nala, who was close to their hearts. They would serve only to Nala. They then agreed when Nala told in their ears that he himself would be driving. Then Baahuka asked Vaarshneya to sit next to him as it was a long journey. We can compare to a ‘co-pilot’ of these days. Nala prepared himself for the lifetime’s travel at a lifetime’s pace. Always, the initial moments are very important, the mind should be prepared for it. It was a goal of a very high speed. Hanuman too had prepared himself before crossing the ocean. After Nala started the journey, a strong wind blew raising the dust. The surrounding people could just see the dust; they could not identify even the direction in which the chariot went. Whether it went on the land, or in the sky, or inside the earth, no one knew. Rituparna got drowsiness, he didn’t know what was happening. Though he was not a common man, though he was from Suryavamsha, though he had been close to horses from his childhood, he had not seen such a speed since his birth. Now he has got an efficient charioteer. He sat perplexed, closing his eyes.
Rituparna started to adjust to Baahuka’s speed. He looked at Baahuka and wondered about his knowledge on horses. He felt happy and proud for having such an unparalleled charioteer. He was amazed at his concentration. Be it with those day’s drivers or present days’s drivers, concentration is very important.
Nala was thinking of seeing his wife after a very long time. He was enthusiastic about it. Ordinary man may get tired doing these, but Nala did not. While Rituparna was proud for having such a skilled charioteer, Vaarshneya was witnessing Nala’s driving. Vaarshneya knew the pulse of Nala. He heard the sound of the chariot and doubted that it was of Nala’s driving. The chariot’s speed and driving skill resembled that of Nala’s; but what about the charioteer’s physique? Nala was a handsome one from toe to head. Then who was this charioteer? Was he Indra’s charioteer, Maatali? Or was he Shaalihotra, the propounder of Ashvavidya? (Shaalihotra was Hayaghosha’s son and was worshipped by the charioteers). Was he a student of Nala? But how could he learn without having Vaarshneya seen? (Since Vaarshneya was always with Nala until he left for the forest). He doubted whether he is Nala because of the same age as that of Nala. He again doubted whether he is Nala himself. He thought that great souls disguise themselves either for a greater cause or due to destiny’s play. He finally came to a conclusion that the charioteer is Nala, his master. There was no doubt in it for him. Nala has been called as a Punyashloka by everyone. Just his remembrance is enough to wash away the sins.
Vaarshneya came to know that Nala is the charioteer. But is it enough? Shouldn’t Damayanti come to know? Shouldn’t the whole world come to know? Still Nala has to confront the Kali inside him. Virtues are necessary for it. Let us go through Krishna’s story for a week for that. There shall be encounter between Nala-Damayanti, Nala-Kali and Nala-Pushkara. Whoever listens it, whoever sees it with their inner eyes, shall be free of Kali. Their minds will be in Kritayuga.
कर्कोटकस्य नागस्य दमयंत्या: नलस्य च |
ऋतुपर्णस्य राजर्षे: कीर्तनं कलिनाशनं ||
You have to listen to these stories to be free of Kali.
Picture courtesy: Internet
TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :