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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bhrigu and Bharadwaja - Maha Bharatha Series 71

Shanti Parva is the 12th book in Maha Bharata and is the longest of the 18 chapters. The subjects covered include duties of a king and of the subjects, dharma, justice, wealth, desires and their effects on people and moksha (emancipation from the cycle of birth and death).  In Sections 170-171 there are comments made by Sampaka (Section 170 and 171) on happiness and sorrow and a treatise on Desire and Greed by Manki. In this we find a surprising definition of destiny as nothing but combination of circumstances. 
Basic principles of the Samkhya system are brought out in the form of a discussion between Brigu and Bharadwaja.  Other discussions on destiny, dharma, justice, wealth and moksha are unusually long and have been commented on elsewhere. In this essay I wish to bring out one section on happiness.
Bhrigu says that all of us seek happiness which is an attribute of the Atman itself. Both virtue and wealth are used to attain happiness, both physical and mental. Teachings of vedas are aimed at pointing out ways to attain happiness in this world and in the other world.
Bharadwaja disagrees and asks, “if it is so, why is it that Rishis do not seek something higher, Brahma the Creator lives a life of brahmacharya (celibacy) and Lord Shiva destroyed Kama the deity of desire and love. Obviously, happiness is not of that importance to high-souled individuals”. He continues that “ there are two kinds of consequences to human actions, one from good acts leading to happiness and another leading to sorrow from sinful acts”.
Bhrigu says that ‘people who do not speak truth and perform unrighteous acts suffer mentally and physically in this life and in the hereafter. Those who never experience these sufferings know what happiness is. In heaven there is no hunger or thirst or suffering and there is only happiness. In hell there is only misery. In this world, there is both misery and happiness. One should therefore seek happiness by virtuous acts”.

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