Saturday, Oct 05, 2002
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The narrative is about a battle between the celestials (gods) and the demons. This again is a symbolism of good and evil which are always in conflict. In the case of the individual it is between his negative and positive tendencies. When the gods lost the battle they sought the help of the Supreme One who won it for them. In their elation they forgot how they had gained the victory and so God decided to teach them a lesson. He appeared in the form of a Spirit (Yaksha). The gods directed the Fire-god (Agni) to ascertain who the Spirit was. When he approached the Yaksha, it asked him who he was and the power he had. Agni introduced himself and said he could burn up anything on this Earth. The Yaksha then placed a piece of straw before him and asked him to burn it. Agni tried and could not to his dismay.
Then the gods sent the Wind-god (Vayu). Vayu also failed in his attempt to blow a straw after boasting that he could blow anything away on the Earth. Finally the chief of gods, Indra, went when the Spirit disappeared and in its place Uma appeared. Indra questioned Her about the Yaksha and she explained that it was the Supreme One after seeing his earnestness.
In his discourse, Swami Asutoshananda said these gods were presiding deities of the human faculties and this story allegorically depicted that the sense organs and the mind by themselves could not understand the Supreme Reality. The sense organs perceive everything in the world in the respective area of their perception but they fail to "see" the divine power behind these faculties responsible for their functioning. Indra represents the mind-intellect and the fact that the Yaksha disappeared conveys that the spiritual knowledge is beyond the ken of the mind-intellect. The mind has to surrender to get insight into Reality, which the story highlights by Indra's submission to the Divine Mother who symbolises knowledge. She enlightened Indra that it was indeed the Supreme who had come as the Yaksha to teach them a lesson.
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