Story from Yoga Vasishta
Chudala’s husband Shikidwaja noticed an unusual radiance in her appearance. When trying to engage her in a conversation, Chudala was constantly talking of Self-Realization and how untrue worldly possessions were. Having never seen Chudala in such a state, Shikidwaja dismissed whatever she said and couldn’t relate to the fact that a woman was talking of such deep matters.
Mocked by Shikidwaja, Chudala keeps all the knowledge to herself but is constantly in the remembrance of the divine self.
Destined to be an enlightened couple, the shallowness of material life was dawning on Shikidwaja. It soon came to haunt him. “His heart, without hope of salvation, burned inconsolably in the flame of his anxieties…He was languishing under the intensity of his anxiety, as if suffering under the fiery heat of the sun. He sought some remedy for the worldly cares that haunted him constantly, day and night. ”
One day, in a casual conversation with Chudala in the forest, Shikidwaja opens up about the helpess state he is in and how he feels that living in the forest will help in get rid of this misery. Chudala disapproves this and says that it is not characteristic of a young king to go away to the forest. ”
“Know my royal lady, that your appeal is in vain. I am determined to go away from here. Know me as already gone from you and your kingdom to a retreat in woods far away from here.”. While Chudala was sleeping, Shikidwaja vanishes into the forest. Chudala was shocked to find her beloved husband missing when she woke up in the morning.
Many many years passed and Chudala was taking care of the affairs of the kingdom. She was waiting for the right opportunity to meet her husband as she knew, through her personal experience that meeting him prematurely will disrupt his Sadhana. When old age took over them, she went to the forest. Having mastered astral travel, Chudala moved in air like an invisible object and reached his hut. Before appearing to him, she had numerous thought crossing her mind.
“Alas, how painful it is to see this pitiful sight! 51 O, the great stupidity that rises from ignorance of spiritual knowledge and which has brought on this miserable condition on this self-deluded king. I must not call him unfortunate as long as he is my husband, though the deep darkness of his mind (ignorance) has brought on this miserable plight. I must try my best to bring him to the knowledge of truth. No doubt that will restore him to his sense of enjoyment here and of his liberation hereafter, and change his figure to another form altogether. 54 He always treats me like his young and silly wife, but I must get closer to him to instill understanding in his mind or else my words will have no effect on him.”
She materialized as a Brahmin boy and appeared before Shikidwaja. By looking at the boy’s radiant appearance, the hermit king welcomed with a garland of flowers and treated him with veneration. The King asked the boy his lineage. The boy mentioned that he was the son of sage Narada and narrated the story of his birth. On a certain occasion, Sage Narada had been attracted to few women who were playing in the waters. Shikidwaja was shocked to hear that an enlightened sage like Narada had lost himself. The Brahmin boy explained in great detail the laws of action and consequences and how they bind us in each birth and hence no one is free from these tendencies. The boy went on to narrate how he was born to Sage Narada in a pot inside a cave. Brahma gave him the name Kumbha.
Kumbha narrated the question he had asked Lord Brahma and the reply given by the Lord.
“which is the more useful and preferable for mankind: the observance of duties or their nonobservance for the sake of knowledge. Brahma replied, “No doubt knowledge is the supreme good because it leads a man to understand the unity of God to himself. But action has been inculcated in man from creation as his duty in life, both for pleasure and for passing his lifetime. Let those who have not acquired their intellectual light and the sight of the soul be employed in their duties to their offspring and fellow creatures.”
The conversations between Kumbha and Shikidwaja get deeper and deeper. Kumbha (Chudala in disguise) narrated the story of Philosopher’s stone which changed Shikidwaja completely.
to be continued…