A Thunder's Message

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

There is a story in the Upanishads. When this whole creation came into existence, three types of sentient beings existed: devata or divine beings, human beings, and danava or demons. These three had no idea about the goal of their lives. So they planned to meet Brahma and ask him what the aim of their lives should be. While traveling, the three representatives of the three sects encountered heavy rains with lightening and thunder. Between the roaring sound of the thunder a message was heard. After hearing the message, the representatives went back to their respective societies without having met Brahma.

Message for the devatas

When the representative of the devata is asked about the goal of life, he tells his people that the message he received was, 'Damadhvam, damadhvam, damadhvam', which means 'control, control, control'. Control the sense organs and sensorial attraction.

The devatas live in heaven, where a five-star culture prevails and as long as you have the credit of your good deeds, you can stay there. The moment the credit of good deeds or your karma comes to an end, you are thrown out of five-star heaven. This sort of arrangement is also followed in hotels. If you do not pay the bills and your pocket is empty, you will be thrown out of the hotel unceremoniously. Similarly, in heaven, the moment the balance of good deeds is zero, you are thrown out.

In heaven, the prevailing nature is of sensorial gratification or pleasure. Generally, one reads that after being intoxicated, the devatas enjoy themselves with dancing angels or celestial damsels. They love playfulness and enjoyment. Therefore, for these sensualists, God's commandment was to keep their senses and mind under control.

Message for human beings

When the representative of the human beings was asked about God's commandment, he replied, 'Danadhvam, danadhvam, danadhvam', which means 'give, give and give'. What is the nature of human beings? To aggregate, to hoard, to collect. Humans collect everything and do not want to give anything. In their house they will have a collection of hundreds of pairs of shoes, yet will never give even their old pair of shoes to their servant. Hundreds of clothes in the closet, some of them used only once or twice. However, they do not give these clothes to anyone who is in great need. Therefore, God's order for the human beings was to 'give, give and give', so that they can balance the shortcomings and deficits in other people's lives. Thus they can motivate them to march forward in life by raising their standard and quality of life.

Suppose you have two children. If you go to the market to purchase clothes for your family and children, then buy three sets of clothes: two sets for your kids and one for the unknown child. This unknown child has nothing and if you give him something, he will feel blessed. If every capable citizen of our country does this, there will be no poverty prevailing in this country. Every citizen will have resources and facilities provided by others assisting and helping them in the spirit of cooperation. This is the process and practice of donation – to give. Free of the tendency of hoarding and selfishness, and with no expectation of any return you become a helping hand. For human beings this was God's order: to give.

Message to the devils

For the devils, the order in the form of a message was, 'Dayadhvam, dayadhvam, dayadhvam', meaning 'have mercy, have mercy, have mercy'. The nature of devils is to have a cruel and violent mentality. They derive pleasure from taking away the happiness of others, by bringing troubles and problems in their lives, by seeing tears in their eyes. That is the devilish tendency of the mind. Therefore, God's order for the devils was that there should be no tears in anyone's eyes due to their karma of thoughts, words and deeds. Mercy means to bring happiness and joy into people's lives through one's karma or action.

Three orders have been given to make human life fulfilled and complete: to restrain and control sensual attachments and attractions; to overcome greed and selfishness; and to show mercy by being sensitive towards others. These are the orders from God for the human, the divine and the devilish civilization. These three civilizations are inside you. The practice and process by which they can be managed is yoga: raja yoga for intelligence, hatha yoga for the physical body, and bhakti yoga for the purification of emotions.

6 June 2014, Kathmandu, Nepal