The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes kunjala’s story: a preceptor is a holy place which is chapter 123 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the one hundred twenty-third chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 123 - Kuñjala’s Story: A Preceptor Is a Holy Place

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The siddha said:

1-16. Listen, I shall tell you the nature of knowledge. Knowledge has no body, no hands, no feet, and no eyes. It has no nose, no ears. Knowledge does not have the collection of bones. Who indeed has seen knowledge? What are its characteristic marks? It is without any form, it is eternal. The omniscient one knows everything. The sun illumines by day; the moon illumines at night; a lamp would illumine (i.e. illumines) the house. These remain in the world. O best one, listen, (I shall tell you) by what lustre is that place seen? Fools, deluded by Viṣṇu’s Māyā do not obtain it. Knowledge remaining in the body is inflamed by concentration and is matchless. That (highest) place will be seen through that (knowledge) and not by means of the moon, the sun etc. Knowledge is without hands and feet. It is eyeless, and is without ears. It moves everywhere. It grasps and sees everything. O best brāhmaṇa, it smells everything; it does hear; there is no doubt about this. There is no lamp like knowledge for the destruction of all darkness (of ignorance). It is seen in the heaven, on the earth, in the nether world—at every place. Those of wicked minds are not conscious of the knowledge that remains in the body. I shall explain to you the place of knowledge, from which knowledge springs up. O brāhmaṇa, it has always been kept in the hearts of beings. He who always desires to bum with the fire of discrimination the great sensual pleasures like sex and great allurements, becoming full of all tranquility, would crush objects of senses. Then would knowledge be born manifesting the full truth. This knowledge has the first principle as its basis; it is spotless and it manifests everything. Therefore have tranquility which enhances all pleasures. Be equanimous towards your enemy and your friend; and always restrict your food and control your senses. You should not form friendship (with anyone); enmity should be cast at a distance. Being without attachment, being desireless, and having resorted to a solitary place, you will possess spiritual knowledge, explaining everything. O child, there is no doubt that by my grace you, remaining at one place, will know the account of what is taking place in the three worlds.

Kuñjala said:

17-19. O brāhmaṇa, that siddha showed me the nature of knowledge. I always remained within his words (i.e. obeyed him).

I am pervaded by his existence. By the favour of that good preceptor, I, (even though) seated at one place, know everything that takes place in the three worlds. I have told you my entire account. O best brāhmaṇa, tell me what else I should tell you.

Cyavana said:

20. How did you, the best among the learned, reach (i.e. get birth in) the species of parrots? Tell me the reason of it that will dispel all my doubt.

Kuñjala said:

21-27. Sin is produced through contact, and also merit is produced through contact. Therefore an honest person should avoid a worthy (person) or the opposite of him. (Once) a sinful hunter had brought a young one of a parrot after catching it. He was eager to sell it. Seeing it to be beautiful and speaking agreeably and cleverly, a brāhmaṇa took (i.e. purchased) it, and affectionately gave it to me. O best brāhmaṇa, everyday I remained in intellectual meditation. Due to its child-like nature it perched on my hand out of curiosity. O you best brāhmaṇa, I, with my mind always set upon the parrot of the form of (i.e. like) my son, was infatuated by its impatient words. It too used to instruct me: “O father, father, (please) be seated; O glorious one, go for a bath; now worship the god.” It would talk to me in such pleasant words. Due to the diversion caused by its words I forgot my excellent knowledge.

28-33. (Once) I went to a forest for (collecting) flowers and enjoying fruits. The bird was taken away by a cat to cause me (i.e. which caused me) grief. I heard from my well-behaved associates living in my company that the bird was killed by a cat and eaten by it only. (Thus) O brāhmaṇa, hearing that the bird talking agreeably was dead I was extremely afflicted with great grief and unhappiness. I was bewildered due to grief on this account and was very much pained. O best brāhmaṇa, I was caught in a great mesh of infatuation. With my mind moved by infatuation I cried: ‘O Rāmacandra, O king of parrots, O lord of celebrity’, O brāhmaṇa. O best brāhmaṇa, now listen: then I became tormented with grief and separation due to my act.

34-38. I forgot the knowledge made clear to me by the siddha also. I, tormented with grief, remembered that parrot speaking agreeably. O Bhārgava, crying like: ‘O child, O child, who, except you, will now advise me with sentences, with well-formed words. O lord of birds, having pleased me with wonderful stories, and abandoned me in this solitary garden, where have you gone? Tell me now by which fault I am stained.’ Being perplexed I lamented with (i.e. uttering) such piteous words, and was very much tormented with grief.

39-42a. Due to that embarassment and deluded by affection for it I died. O best brāhmaṇa, I was born with that temperament and thought with which I died. I was put in the womb which caused knowledge and remembrance (in me). I remembered the former deed done by me—a sinner and a fool. (I thought:) ‘What have I, whose spirit is not disciplined, to do?’ Being in the womb, I thought about it only.

42b-53. Due to that I obtained knowledge which was pure and which manifested everything (to me); and by the grace of that preceptor I got excellent knowledge. O brāhmaṇa, by the clean water of his words the dirt of my body—internal and external—was washed, and it was made pure. I obtained the birth of a bird as a parrot. O brāhmaṇa, when I, thinking of the parrot—thus conceiving thoughts about it (only), died, I was again born on the earth in the form of a parrot. Beings are born with that form, and are intent upon that, have those virtues, that appearance, about which thoughts occur to them at the time of their death. O best brāhmaṇa, O you very intelligent one, there is no doubt that due to the thought at the time of my death I obtained incomparable knowledge here (i.e. in my existence as a parrot). Therefore, I (am able) to see what has taken place and what will happen. There is no doubt that even though I am staying here I know the entire present due to my knowledge. O very wise and very intelligent one. O brāhmaṇa, for the emancipation of human beings moving in the mundane existence there is no holy place cutting the bonds (of karman) like a preceptor. O Bhārgava, listen; I have told you all this. O Brāhmaṇa, I have explained to you all that you had asked. The holy place (in the form) of a preceptor removes all external dirt from a place on the land or in water. The holy place in the form of a preceptor would destroy sins committed in other (i.e. former) births. This moving holy place (in the form of a preceptor) is excellent.

Viṣṇu said:

54. O best king, that very intelligent parrot, having thus explained the truth to that noble Cyavana, ceased (speaking).

55. I have explained to you this excellent moving holy place (in the form of a preceptor). Well-being to you; ask for a boon that you have in your mind.

Vena said:

56-57a. I do not desire a kingdom; nor do I long for anything (else). O Janārdana (i.e. Viṣṇu), with my body (intact) I desire to reach your body. If you desire to grant a boon I think (you should give me) this boon.

Viṣṇu said:

57b-62. O king, perform a horse sacrifice and Rājasūya sacrifice. O you very intelligent one, make presents of cows, land, gold, water and grains. By making presents a terrible sinlike killing a brāhmaṇa perishes. There is no doubt that by making gifts all the four goals of human life are definitely accomplished. Therefore, O king, presents should be made dedicating them to me. I fulfil the intention of the person with which he gives (presents) dedicating them to me. Due to your having seen the sages and having come in contact with them, the heap of your sins has dropped down. There is no doubt that at the end of the sacrifice you will reach my body.

Speaking thus to that Vena Viṣṇu vanished.

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