Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
Your interests (Optional)
This will help us make recommendations and send discounts and sale information at times.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
.
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address info@exoticindia.com.

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
|6
Your Cart (0)
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend

An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva

Article of the Month - September 2015
Viewed 7178 times since 15th Sep, 2015


The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says: ‘The wise looks with an equal eye upon a noble brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a chandala’ (5.18).

Commenting on this verse, Bhagawan Shankaracharya says that a jnani looks upon this whole world as his own self (atman); i.e., he does not look upon anybody as different from himself.

This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.21). Rantideva was a person who satisfied himself with whatever came his way through its own accord without any direct effort on his behalf. In effect, he personified the jnani described in Gita 4.22:

‘He is content with what comes to him without effort. He is unaffected by dualities like heat and cold. He is free from envy and is equipoised in success or failure.'

Day by day his wealth started decreasing because he would give away whatever he received, thinking it to be momentary, even at the cost of remaining hungry himself. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient. His devoted family suffered the hardships along with him.

Once it so happened that for forty-eight days they did not get even water to drink. Only on the morning of the forty-ninth day did he happen to get by chance some eatables and water. His family was in deep distress at that time. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst. However, as soon as they were about to eat the food, a brahmin guest arrived.

Rantideva used to see God in everyone (sarvam khalu idam Brahman - Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1). Therefore, he received the brahmin with respect and gave him his share of food. The brahmin had his meal and went away.

Now they distributed the remaining food amongst themselves. Just then another guest, this time a shudra, arrived. Rantideva, keeping God in his mind, fed some part of the remaining food to the shudra guest.

When the shudra departed, another guest surrounded by a group of dogs approached him saying, "Oh King! Me and my dogs are hungry. Give us something to eat."

The king received them kindly and gave to him respectfully whatever food that remained with him and bowed to the dogs and their owner.

Now only some water, sufficient enough to quench the thirst of just one person remained. They were about to distribute it amongst themselves for drinking when there arrived a chandala (one who tends to dead bodies in the cremation grounds). The chandala guest said, "I belong to the lowest of the lowest caste. Give me water to drink."

Hearing the chandala’s pitiful voice, which he uttered with great pains and exhaustion, tormented as he was by thirst, the noble king with limitless patience was deeply moved with compassion and though he himself was on the point of death because of thirst, gave that water to the chandala saying:

King Rantideva offers water to the chandala

 

"I do not desire from God the highest powers. I do not even want moksha. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries. This unfortunate man wanted water to drink. His life was saved by giving water. Now my hunger, thirst, exhaustion, distress and grief, all have vanished."

 

 

Actually these guests were different forms of Bhagawan’s Maya. They revealed themselves to Rantideva in the form of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The king, being entirely free from all attachments, cherished no desires. He bowed to them all, even as his mind was one with Bhagawan Vasudeva due to utmost devotion. He sought no boons from the Gods. King Rantideva did not want anything other than God Himself. Therefore, the Maya of God, constituted of the three gunas, dissolved before him, like a dream dissolves when a man wakes up. By virtue of their close association with him, all those who followed Rantideva too became absolutely devoted to Bhagawan Narayana.

 


References & Further Reading:

Post a Comment
 
Post Review
Testimonials
I recently ordered a hand embroidered stole. It was expensive and I was slightly worried about ordering it on line. It has arrived and is magnificent. I couldn't be happier, I will treasure this stole for ever. Thank you.
Jackie
Today Lord SIVA arrived well in Munich. Thank you for the save packing. Everything fine. Hari Om
Hermann, Munchen
Thank you very much for keeping such an exotic collection of Books. Keep going strong Exotic India!!!
Shweta, Germany
I am very thankful to you for keeping such rare and quality books, DVDs, and CDs of classical music and even Dhrupad which is almost unbelievable. I hope you continue to be this good in your helpfulness. I have found books about rare cultural heritage such as Kodava samaj, Dhrupad and other DVDs and CDs in addition to the beautiful sarees I have from your business, actually business is not the right word, but for lack of a word I am using this.
Prashanti, USA
Shiva Shankar brass statue arrived yesterday. It´s very perfect and beautiful and it was very carefully packed. THANK YOU!!! OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
Mª Rosário Costa, Portugal
I have purchased many books from your company. Your packaging is excellent, service is great and attention is prompt. Please maintain this quality for this order also!
Raghavan, USA
My order arrived today with plenty of time to spare. Everything is gorgeous, packing excellent.
Vana, Australia
I was pleased to chance upon your site last year though the name threw me at first! I have ordered several books on Indian theatre and performance, which I haven't found elsewhere (including Amazon) or were unbelievably exorbitantly priced first editions etc. I appreciate how well you pack the books in your distinctive protective packaging for international and domestic mailing (for I order books for India delivery as well) and the speed with which my order is delivered, well within the indicated time. Good work!
Chitra, United Kingdom
The statue has arrived today. It so beautiful, lots of details. I am very happy and will order from you shop again.
Ekaterina, Canada.
I love your company and have been buying a variety of wonderful items from you for many years! Keep up the good work!
Phyllis, USA
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Links
"During one such sacrifice, nine spiritually charged men entered the sacrificial hall….As for Bhagavat Dharma, it is the dharma spoken by God directly from his own mouth…. Like a person eating food finds himself gratified simultaneously in three ways…. We are all constantly taught by spiritual texts to offer or dedicate all our actions to God. However, the question remains as to how to practically carry out this injunction…..The only fruit of wealth is dharma... Therefore, there is no need for the Vedas to enjoin us to these things for which we already have a tendency….The real intention of the Vedic injunctions in these matters is to make a person abstain from them…”
Nine Teachings from Nine Yogis: The Essence of Bhagavat Dharma
"Vyasa Ji explained through a story how it came to be that the Pandava's marriage with a single wife was in conformity with dharma….The gods, along with their king Indra, were sitting on the bank of a river when they saw a beautiful golden lotus floating on its waters…. Both were playing a game of dice…. On hearing Shiva’s words, Indra started shaking with fear… Without death, the burden on the earth becomes too much…. Her birth had the sanction of all the three Gods - Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu."
Devi Draupadi: Resolving the Paradox
"But to pull this statement out of context and give it as an advice for anyone is far from correct…. But how is one to recognise the guru? Obviously, he will be able to understand the difficulties of the disciples and clarify to them the meaning of the scriptures on the basis of logic and experience…. They will have to search in their own neighbourhood only….The guru chosen by him should be at least better than himself!…. Of course, if the ideal guru whose features have been enumerated in the beginning is available, then the sadhaka should immediately go and surrender to him…. It is just like going to another teacher for higher education, after completing the education in a school."
The Qualities of a Guru and How to Find One
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Shiva, the Nataraja
"Once as he was engaged in puja, a saint came to visit him….Like a true householder attached to his family, Gajendra sported in the water with his wives, children and friends…. Understanding that his end was imminent, they all slowly withdrew, till Gajendra was left alone…. If we reflect on it calmly, we will realise that there is no house in the world where the story of Gajendra does not play out…. The one who is careful towards the end is able to reform his death…. Gajendra’s hymn of praise is one of the greatest philosophical poems in the annals of world literature."
Moksha of Gajendra: Liberation by The Formless God
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Ananda: Understanding the True Nature of Happiness
"It concedes that for an orderly social life a division into four groups based on the principle of varnadharma is necessary…. Each individual sometimes acts in a sattvika manner while at other times he may act in rajasic or tamasic manner, which means that the manifestation of a particular guna depends on circumstances…. Though all the three gunas are present in everyone, different persons are driven to act differently…. The karma that I have to perform should depend on my inherent gunas and should have the ability to regulate these gunas…. There is no instant transition to moksha…. An individual has to make his way towards moksha only through worldly life."
Varnashrama Dharma: A Logical View
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"Her epithet in the Devi-Mahatmya is Mahalakshmi. She is the wrathful four-armed goddess of battlefield represented holding in them various weapons…. A form of Lakshmi seated over a lotus laid over a golden seat and a pair of white elephants…. Except in some classical forms in Lakshmi-Narayana imagery Lakshmi is ordinarily two-armed…. Incarnation theory is the crux of Vaishnavism. Vishnu incarnates alone but Lakshmi also incarnates in simultaneity…. Though very rare some enthused artists have conceived on Ardhanarishvara line also Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara images."
Title: Iconography of Vaishnava Deities: Goddess Lakshmi
"There is Rama, the son of Ayodhya's king Dasharatha in his human birth, and there is Rama's divinity, his divine aura that overwhelms the Tulasi's entire Ramacharit-manas, one manifest - with attributes, and the other, unmanifest - without attributes. With main emphasis on his majesty in South Indian tradition this crown is taller than usual. His 'khadgasana' images are usually in three modes; one with his right foot moved forward represents him in a commander's disposition ready to rush for protecting a devotee in crisis or redeem him from some calamity. Harihara, a form in which he shares with Shiva half of the body. Basically a bird Garuda is seen for ages as Vishnu's ardent devotee, a learned human being and an auspicious presence, and in iconographic tradition often conceived with a man's face, anatomy, ornaments and ensemble. The Puranas are replete with tales of Garuda's divine exploits."
Iconography of Vaishnava Images: Vishnu
"Only a certain fraction of this karma is chosen by God in order to form the blueprint of our next birth…. The fruit that one experiences in this birth is due to prarabdha and a portion of the present agami…. Similarly, a fish in the Ganga does not accrue punya because of always living in Ganga…. A good karma can be annulled by a bad karma and a bad one by a good one…. Sometimes we also hear that prarabdha cannot be got rid of. It has to be spent through…. Bhagawan Vyasa says that for the full result of the karma to manifest, three things are necessary…. Then how to understand the statement that prarabdha should unavoidably be experienced?"
Theory and Practice of Karma: Some Salient Features
"Actually, the one who worships Bhagwan Vishnu should get rich and the one who worships Shiva should become an avadhuta like Him…. Then he works hard again to acquire wealth. I render all his efforts futile…. However, Bhagawan Vishnu is not like that, it takes longer to please Him…. As a consequence, they later harassed the great God Himself…. On the seventh day, he bathed in the holy waters of Kedarnath and began to cut his head with an axe to offer into the fire…. The boy bowed respectfully before the demon and asked…. No one who commits sin against a great person can be safe and happy in this world."
Shiva and Vishnu: A Unique Aspect of Their Worship
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
Show More
TRUSTe
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2017 © Exotic India