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

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

A Householder’s Life, Lord Vishnu Shows the Way

Article of the Month - December 2013
Viewed 9820 times since 15th Dec, 2013

Long long ago there reigned a king named Nabhi, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He had no offspring; therefore, he along with his wife performed various sacrifices to propitiate the Lord. Even though Shri Vishnu cannot be achieved through any karma, the fact remains that he does bestow His grace on His true devotees. Hence, He manifested Himself before the eyes of the king when the sacrifice was being performed. Seeing the effulgent Lord in front of them gladdened the hearts of everybody, much like a poor man is rejoiced when he comes across a fabulous amount of wealth.

The Lord then asked the king to name his desire. It was the learned Brahmin’s performing the sacrifice who answered on the king’s behalf: "Dear Lord! You have already granted us the greatest wish by appearing before us in person. The best of saints rejoice in singing your glory. Hence, we too ask for the boon that whenever we stumble, fall down, cough, yawn, face trouble, are unwell or on our deathbed, we may be able to utter your divine names which express your various qualities. In addition to this, even though it is not worthy to be asked of you, this king, like a poor person approaching a very rich man begging only for a few husks of grain, wants to ask to you for a son like yourself; because he thinks of progeny as a covetable object of human life. Oh Lord! The king’s desire is not surprising. Nobody can cross over your Maya, nor gain control over it. Dear Lord! You fulfil even the biggest desires of your bhaktas. However, we have called you here for an insignificant thing. It is a pointer to our dim-wittedness that we regard a son as the highest object of life (because a person will ask God only that which he considers the highest goal of his life). We apologize for our ignorance."

Sannyasa Darshan: A Treatise on Traditional and Contemporary Sannyasa

To this Vishnu Ji replied: "Oh Sages! This is a very difficult boon you have asked for. There is no one equal to Me, so how can there be a son like Me? The only solution is to incarnate Myself as your son." Saying this He vanished. Thus did Lord Vishnu take avatar on this earth as the son of king Nabhi. The true purpose of this incarnation was to demonstrate to us the life of an ideal householder who, after fulfilling his obligations, finally gives it all up and leaves his house to become a Sannayasi.


Badrinath and Kedarnath: The Dhaams in the Himalayas

At his birth, king Nabhi’s son was named Rishabha, meaning ‘the most excellent’, because of the exceptional qualities he was born with. Rishabha grew into a deserving prince, the object of universal affection. This made his father extremely happy. King Nabhi, who was the very essence of Dharma, then placed his son on the throne under the care of elderly Brahmins, and himself, along with his wife left for the sacred site of Badrinath.


Lord Vishnu: Preserver of the Cosmos (Framed)


There the couple engaged in severe austerities and eventually merged into the Supreme Soul. Indeed, who can emulate the deeds of king Nabhi, satisfied by whose conduct the learned Brahmins manifested before him the great Lord Vishnu Himself.



Meanwhile, Rishabha himself had left no stone unturned to present before the world the model way of life. He spent the student days of his life at the house of his teacher (gurukula), where he studies the Vedas and also learned other worldly sciences. After finishing his education Rishabha satisfied his guru through appropriate dakshina and then taking the latter’s permission entered the grihastha-ashrama. For teaching the world the duties of a householder, he first married a girl dutifully handed over to him by her father and then led his life performing karma prescribed by both kinds of scriptures – shruti (Vedas) and smriti (texts based on the Vedas). Through his queen he begot several sons, all of whom were endowed with excellent qualities befitting their exalted lineage. The eldest son was the great yogi Bharata, after whom this great country derives its name (Bharat).

How to Lead a Household Life

Even though Rishabha was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu Himself, and therefore had no unfulfilled desires (Bhagavad Gita 3.22), even then, in keeping with the message of the Gita (3.20), he continued performing karma as if he was an ordinary human being. By his actions he laid down, for the sake of the ignorant, the righteous way of life, known as Dharma. During his life as a king, he especially demonstrated to the world how to lead a regulated life as a householder.


Vedic Sacrifices An Outline


This was particularly effective since he instructed others by example. Indeed, the world follows the deeds of the great (Gita 3.21). In keeping with his station in life, Shri Rishabha also performed numerous Vedic sacrifices; consequently there was peace, prosperity and contentment in his people.


Lives of Saints

Very soon the time arrived when his sons were grown up and capable enough to take responsibility of the throne. Seeing the moment ripe, the great king Rishabha called upon an assembly of his sons, and in the presence of learned Brahmins, addressed them thus: "My dear sons, this human body is superior to that of all beings. It has not been granted to us to work hard day and night merely for obtaining sense-gratification, which is available in same measure even to dogs and stool eating hogs. The aim of human life is to engage in penance and austerities which purify the mind and eventually lead to absorption into the Supreme Self - Brahman, which is nothing but undiminishing, eternal pleasure. The gate to this liberation is to serve saints (who worship the Lord), and in contrast, the company of those who worship women should be shunned because it is the sure gateway to hell. Saints consider love for God as the highest objective of human life. They have no attachment to materialistic life which is characterized merely by eating, sleeping and mating. They feel no attraction whatsoever for a house teeming with wife, children and wealth. Saints are devoid of all desires beyond the minimum necessities required for maintaining life (hence you too should strive towards inculcating these qualities).

"When a person considers sense-gratification as the sole aim of his life, he becomes infatuated with materialistic things and starts engaging in all kinds of sinful activity. This is not a very intelligent thing to do since this why he had received this miserable body in the first place. Through this body we can give rise to further misery or achieve Moksha, the choice is ours. A person is not liberated from the bonds of this body until he starts cultivating love for Lord Vishnu. Till man, maddened as he is by selfishness, does not realize that his efforts for sense-gratification do not serve his true interests, his attachment centers around merely his home, which is based solely on man-woman intercourse and which eventually brings him only immense misery.

Karma Sannyasa: Spiritual Life For The Householder"The attraction between man and woman is the knot in their mutual hearts which binds them together. It is this knot which leads a man to consider the house he lives in, his wife, son etc. as his own (thus it is this basic knot which needs to be cut asunder by following the karma laid down in the scriptures). When this knot, hardened as it is by previous karma, starts to slacken, one becomes absolved of the man-wife relation. In this way he gives up the notion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and becomes free. The way to this liberation is (following any one is sufficient): Devotion towards God and Guru, withstanding the dualities of pleasure and pain, constantly listening to stories about God, association with bhaktas, study of Vedanta, living in seclusion, observance of complete celibacy, vigilance in performing one’s sacred duties and restraint of speech. One should make all efforts to cut asunder this knot in the heart because it is the reservoir holding all our previous karma. Having done this, even these means can then be given up.


"The one who regards the obtaining of God’s grace as the highest objective of human life, he should – if he be a king to his people, if a Guru to his disciple and if a father to his children – transmit these teachings. If they do not abide with these instructions one should get angry with them but in no case encourage such people who are already deluded by karma into performing even more karma whose sole result is sense-gratification. Indeed, driving them towards such karma is equivalent to deliberately pushing a blind man into a pit. What alas can be achieved by this?

"People engrossed in samsara do not know where their real good lies. Hence they become overwhelmed with a powerful lust for enjoyment of pleasures and intense desire for sensual enjoyment. For a mere particle of insignificant pleasure they entertain an enormous amount of enmity with each other. Deluded as they are, they have no idea of the unending misery resulting from such hostility. Seeing such a person steeped in Avidya, what compassionate person will misdirect him further into the way of karma, any more than one would lead astray a blind man who has already lost his way. Actually, the one who does not save his dear ones from the noose of death by initiating them in the way of bhakti, such a person, even though he be a guru is not a guru, if a father he is not a father, if a mother she is not a mother, if a god he is not a god and if a husband he is not a husband.

"Dear Sons! You are born of my pure heart and hence are extremely pure too. Therefore, you should without any jealousy serve your elder brother Bharata (whom I crown king). By serving him you will be serving me only and will equivalent to your looking after the people of your kingdom. Remember, virtuous Brahmins are the most exalted beings on this earth. I do not consider any other beings as equal to Brahmins, how then can anyone be superior to them? Indeed, Lord Vishnu does not as much enjoy the oblations offered into the sacred fires of Agnihotra, as much as He relishes the food liberally offered into the mouths of Brahmins with faith. It is the Brahmins who have continuously maintained in this world the body of Lord Vishnu in the form of the eternal Vedas."

Dharmaraja Yama

Finally king Rishabha said: "God is situated in all things – whether moving or unmoving; therefore, you should serve all beings at each step. This is the true worship of God. The ultimate fruit of all human endeavour is to worship God in this manner. Without this, you cannot free yourself from the noose of Yamaraja which is nothing but the great entanglement of material existence."

Thus did the great Rishabha teach his sons. Although they were already educated and perfectly cultured, he instructed them in order to set an example for us as how to a father should instruct his sons before retiring from family life.

Having installed on the throne his eldest son Bharata, who himself was a great bhakta, Rishabha set out to lay down the path of supreme detachment, that of Paramhamsas, or the ‘great free swans’ - Sannayasis who are no longer bound by fruitive karma. This fascinating, highly instructive and eye-opening part of Rishabhadeva’s life will form the subject matter of next month’s article.

(The life of Shri Rishabha occurs in detail in the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana, 5th Canto, Chapters 3-6).


References & Further Reading:

Post a Comment
Post Review
Трубки для кальяна в наше время пользуются особым доверием. Большое количество женщин любят курить качественные сигары. Если вы хотите купить элитный табак или элитные сигары, то мы предлагаем вам кликнуть на наш сайт. На доступны разнообразные сигареты и аксессуары. Если вам нужны принадлежности для кальяна, то вы сможете выбрать отличные товары на портале. Фирма функционирует не второй день и предлагает вип покупателям сигары отличного качества. В это время интернет-магазин сигар очень ценится среди разных клиентов, и вы можете выбрать там табак высокого класса. Если вам необходимы пепельницы, то организация рекомендует рассмотреть аксессуары европейских разработчиков и различной цветовой гаммы. Важно отметить, что предметы торговли есть в продаже не всегда. Сейчас товары очень быстро заказывают и иногда их необходимо заказывать заранее. Если вы любите сигареты Oscar Black, но купить их вам не постоянно удаётся, на сайте интернет-магазина вы можете их забронировать. Там находятся в каталоге и сигареты Oscar One Nano. В последние месяцы безумно известны стали сигареты Mac Blue Q-type. Если вы хотите подобрать что-то универсальное, то табак для трубки в ассортименте также есть. В наличии практически всегда доступен табак Al-Sharq Darband. А если вы желаете купить табак для клуба, то лучше брать табак для кальяна на сайте фирмы. Сегодня организация невероятно распространена и вы можете приобрести сигареты оптом по вкусной цене. Для постоянных покупателей у компании есть индивидуальные интересные варианты. В наше время интернет-магазин сигарет уже успел завоевать доверие у разных граждан Казахстана. Нужно выделить, что в Казахстане не так уж и просто выбрать элитные сигареты, но руководство интернет-магазина делает всё для того, чтобы такая вероятность была у клиентов ресурса.
Excellent e-commerce website with the most exceptional, rare and sought after authentic India items. Thank you!
Cabot, USA
Excellent service and fast shipping. An excellent supplier of Indian philosophical texts
Libero, Italy.
I am your old customer. You have got a wonderful collection of all products, books etc.... I am very happy to shop from you.
Usha, UK
I appreciate the books offered by your website, dealing with Shiva sutra theme.
Antonio, Brazil
I love Exotic India!
Jai, USA
Superzoom delivery and beautiful packaging! Thanks! Very impressed.
Great service. Keep on helping the people
Armando, Australia
I bought DVs supposed to receive 55 in the set instead got 48 and was in bad condition appears used and dusty. I contacted the seller to return the product and the gave 100% credit with apologies. I am very grateful because I had bought and will continue to buy products here and have never received defective product until now. I bought paintings saris..etc and always pleased with my purchase until now. But I want to say a public thank you to whom it may concern for giving me the credit. Thank you. Navieta.
Navieta N Bhudu
I have no words to thank you and your company. I received the Saundarananda Maha Kavya that I have ordered from you few weeks ago. I hope to order any more books, if I will have a need. Thank you
Ven. Bopeththe, Sri Lanka
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Links
"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
"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
"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
"One uniqueness of our Vedic religion is that it allows for salvation not only through renunciation (nivritti) but also through the path of material happiness (pravritti).... If dharma makes it mandatory that conjugal pleasure be restricted to the life partner, how is it that Krishna indulged in the amorous sport of Rasa with others' wives?.... Some stopped cooking, some stopped feeding, some stopped eating, some stopped washing clothes etc. and ran away.... Upanishads call the jiva in waking state as Vishwa and the dreaming jiva as Taijasa (Mandukya Upanishad Mantras 3-4)."
Krishna's Rasa Lila: The Vedantic Perspective
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. 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."
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"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
"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."
Iconography of Vaishnava Deities: Goddess Lakshmi
"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)
"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
"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)
"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
"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
"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
"Bhishma undoubtedly is one of the central figures of the Mahabharata.…. One should not venture out too early in the morning…. But one should not go to sleep with wet feet….A person who desires to live long should never irritate the following three…. One must shun company of people who criticize the Vedas…. If we are traveling, one must find shelter inside a house…."
Living the Full Life: 50 Instructions from the Mahabharata
Show More
All rights reserved. Copyright 2018 © Exotic India