Ajamila – second part of the story

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(read the first part)

When the Yamadutas, the order carriers of Yamaraja, the Lord of death, attempted to arrest Ajamila’s soul at the point of his death, they were forbidden to do so by four men, the Visnudutas. Perplexed, the Yamadutas inquired from the Visnudutas why they obstructed them from doing their duty.

Being thus addressed by the messengers of Yamaraja, the servants of Visnu smiled and spoke the following words in voices as deep as the sound of rumbling clouds: “If you are actually servants of Yamaraja, you must be able to explain the meaning of religious principles and the symptoms of irreligion. According to your judgement, who are the actual candidates for punishment? Are all people engaged in selfish activities punishable, or only some of them?”

The Yamadutas replied: “That which is prescribed in the scriptures, the Vedas, constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, NARAYANA, and are self-born. This we have heard from our master Yamaraja.

The supreme cause of all causes, NARAYANA, is situated in His own abode in the spiritual world, but nevertheless He controls the entire cosmic manifestation according to the three modes of material nature – sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. In this way all living entities are awarded different qualities, different names, different duties, and different forms. Thus NARAYANA is the cause of the entire cosmic manifestation. The sun, fire, sky, air, demigods, moon, evening, day, night, directions, water, land and Lord Visnu Himself in His form as the Supersoul all witness the activities of the living entity. The candidates for punishment are those who are confirmed by these many witnesses to have deviated from their prescribed regulative duties. Everyone engaged in selfish activities is suitable to be subjected to punishment according to his sinful acts.

O inhabitants of Vaikuntha, those within this material world are all under the law of karma, whether acting piously or impiously. One who has accepted a material body cannot be inactive, and sinful action is inevitable for one acting under the modes of material nature. Therefore all the living entities within this material world are punishable. In proportion to the extent of one’s religious or irreligious actions in this life, one must enjoy or suffer the corresponding reactions of his karma in the next.

The omnipotent Yamaraja is situated in everyone’s heart like the Paramatma, the Supersoul, and he mentally observes the past activities of a living entity and thus understands how the living entity will act in future lives.

In the beginning this brahmana named Ajamila studied all the Vedic literatures. He was a reservoir of good character, good conduct and good qualities. Firmly established in executing all the Vedic injunctions, he was very mild and gentle, and he kept his mind and senses under control. Furthermore, he was always truthful, he knew how to chant the Vedic mantras, and he was also very pure. Ajamila was very respectful to his spiritual master, the fire-god, guests, and the elderly members of his household. Indeed, he was free from false prestige. He was upright, benevolent to all living entities, and well behaved. He would never speak nonsense or envy anyone.

Although born of a brahmana family, Ajamila, bereft of intelligence because of the prostitute’s association, earned money somehow or other, regardless of whether properly or improperly, and used it to maintain the prostitute’s sons and daughters. This brahmana irresponsibly spent his long lifetime transgressing all the rules and regulations of the holy scripture, living extravagantly. Therefore he is full of sins. He is unclean and is addicted to forbidden activities. Ajamila did not undergo atonement. Therefore because of his sinful life, we must take him into the presence of Yamaraja for punishment. There, according to the extent of his sinful acts, he will be punished and thus purified.”

After hearing the statements of the Yamadutas, the Visnudutas replied: “Alas, how painful it is that irreligion is being introduced into an assembly where religion should be maintained. Indeed, those in charge of maintaining the religious principles are needlessly punishing a sinless, unpunishable person!

A king or governmental official should be so well qualified that he acts as a father, maintainer and protector of the citizens because of affection and love. He should give the citizens good advice and instructions according to the standard scriptures and should be equal to everyone. Yamaraja does this, for he is the supreme master of justice, and so do those who follow in his footsteps. However, if such persons become polluted and exhibit partiality by punishing an innocent, blameless person, where will the citizens go to take shelter for their maintenance and security? The mass of people follow the example of a leader in society and imitate his behavior. They accept as evidence whatever the leader accepts. People in general are not very advanced in knowledge by which to discriminate between religion and irreligion. The innocent, unenlightened citizen is like an ignorant animal sleeping in peace with its head on the lap of its master, faithfully believing in the master’s protection. If a leader is actually kindhearted and deserves to be the object of a living entity’s faith, how can he punish or kill a foolish person who has fully surrendered in good faith and friendship?

Ajamila has already atoned for all his sinful actions! Indeed, he has atoned not only for sins performed in one life but for those performed in millions of lives, for in a helpless condition he chanted the holy name of NARAYANA. Even previously, while eating and at other times, this Ajämila would call his son, saying, “My dear Narayanaa, please come here.” Although calling the name of his son, he nevertheless uttered the four syllables NA-RA-YA-NA. Simply by chanting the name of NARAYANA in this way, he sufficiently atoned for the sinful reactions of millions of lives.

Such sinful person attracts the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers, “Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection.”

By following the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or undergoing atonement, sinful men do not become as purified as by chanting once the holy name of Lord Hari. Although ritualistic atonement may free one from sinful reactions, it does not awaken devotional service, unlike the chanting of the Lord’s names, which reminds one of the Lord’s fame, qualities, attributes, pastimes and paraphernalia.

The ritualistic ceremonies of atonement recommended in the religious scriptures are insufficient to cleanse the heart absolutely because after atonement one’s mind again runs toward material activities. Consequently, for one who wants liberation from the fruitive reactions of material activities, the chanting or glorification of the name, fame and pastimes of the Lord, is recommended as the most perfect process of atonement because such chanting eradicates the dirt from one’s heart completely.

At the time of death, this Ajamila helplessly and very loudly chanted the holy name of the Lord, NARAYANA. That chanting alone has already freed him from the reactions of all sinful life. Therefore, O servants of Yamaräja, do not try to take him to your master for punishment in hellish conditions.

One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly (to indicate something else), jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.

If one chants the holy name of Hari and then dies because of an accidental misfortune, such as falling from the top of a house, slipping and suffering broken bones while traveling on the road, being bitten by a serpent, being afflicted with pain and high fever, or being injured by a weapon, one is immediately absolved from having to enter hellish life, even though he is sinful.

Authorities who are learned scholars and sages have carefully ascertained that one should atone for the heaviest sins by undergoing a heavy process of atonement and one should atone for lighter sins by undergoing lighter atonement. Chanting the holy name of God, however, vanquishes all the effects of sinful activities, regardless of whether heavy or light. As a fire burns dry grass to ashes, so the holy name of the Lord, whether chanted knowingly or unknowingly, burns to ashes, without fail, all the reactions of one’s sinful activities. If a person unaware of the effective potency of a certain medicine takes that medicine or is forced to take it, it will act even without his knowledge because its potency does not depend on the patient’s understanding. Similarly, even though one does not know the value of chanting the holy name of the Lord, if one chants knowingly or unknowingly, the chanting will be very effective.”

Having thus perfectly judged the principles of dharma with reasoning and arguments, the order carriers of Lord Visnu released the brahmana Ajamila from the bondage of the Yamadutas and saved him from imminent death. The servants of Yamaraja however, after hearing the conclusions of the Visnudutas went to their master Yamaraja and explained to him everything that had happened.

Having been released from the nooses of Yamaraja’s servants, Ajamila, now free from fear, came to his senses and immediately offered obeisances to the Visnudutas by bowing his head at their lotus feet. He was extremely pleased by their presence, for he had seen them save his life from the hands of the servants of Yamaraja. The order carriers of the Supreme Lord, the Visnudutas, saw that Ajamila was attempting to say something, and thus they suddenly disappeared from his presence.

After hearing the discourses between the Yamadutas and the Visnudutas, Ajamila could understand the religious principles that act under the three modes of material nature. These principles are mentioned in the three Vedas. He could also understand the higher principles, the transcendental religious principles, which are above the modes of material nature and which concern the relationship between the living being and the Supreme Lord. He thus became a perfectly pure devotee. He could then remember his past sinful activities, which he greatly regretted having performed. Finally, because of his association with the Visnudutas, Ajamila, his original consciousness aroused, gave up everything and went to Hardwar, where he engaged in bhakti-yoga, always thinking of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Visnudutas went there, seated him on a golden throne and took him away to Vaikunthaloka, the spiritual world.

When the order carriers of Yamaraja were baffled and defeated by the order carriers of Visnu, they approached their master, the controller and master of sinful persons, to tell him of this incident.

The Yamadutas said: “Our dear lord, how many controllers or rulers are there in this material world? How many causes are responsible for manifesting the various results of activities performed under the three modes of material nature? The supreme judge must be one, not many. It was our understanding that you are that supreme judge. Our impression was that you are the master of all living entities, the supreme authority who discriminates between the pious and impious activities of all human beings. We were bringing the most sinful Ajamila toward the hellish planets, following your order, when those beautiful persons from Vaikunthaloka forcibly cut the knots of the ropes with which we were arresting him. As soon as the sinful Ajamila uttered the name NARAYANA, these four beautiful men immediately arrived and reassured him, saying, “Do not fear. Do not fear.” We wish to know about them from Your Lordship. If you think we are able to understand them, kindly describe who they are.”

Yamaraja said: “Although Ajamila was calling for his son, he chanted the holy name of the Lord, NARAYANA, and simply by a glimpse of the chanting of the holy name, he immediately achieved the association of Lord Visnu’s order carriers, who saved him from your attempt to arrest him. This is quite all right. It is a fact that even a chronically sinful person who chants the holy name of the Lord, although not completely without offenses, does not take another material birth. The Visnudutas are all pure devotees of the Lord, the Supreme Person in regard to the creation, maintenance and annihilation of this cosmic manifestation. Neither King Indra, Varuna, Siva, Brahma, the seven risis nor I myself can understand the transcendental activities of the Supreme Lord, who is self-sufficient and beyond the reach of the material senses. With material senses, no one can attain enlightenment about Him.

Intelligent persons, however, take to bhakti-yoga – devotional service for the Lord. When they chant the holy name of the Lord, they are no longer subject to my rulings. If by chance they commit some sinful act, they are protected by the holy name of the Lord because that is where their interest lies.

My dear servants, please do not approach such devotees, for they have fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are equal to everyone, and their narrations are sung by holy people. Please do not even go near them. They are always protected by the club of the Supreme Lord, and therefore Lord Brahma and I and even the time factor are not competent to chastise them.”

In summary, although the sinful Ajamila meant to call his son, the holy name of Lord NARAYANA, even though not chanted in the pure stage, was able to give him liberation. Therefore one who chants the holy name of the Lord with faith and devotion is certainly exalted. He is protected even in his material, conditional life.

Related posts:

Dhruva Maharaja – a small boy leaves his home to search for God

Jada Bharata – a self-realised soul who only spoke once

Sravanam – hearing about God

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Artwork courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
www.krishna.com. Used with permission.

One Response

  1. […] about the answer of the Visnudutas in the second part of the story, and how they released Ajamila from the bondage of the Yamadutas and thus saved him from imminent […]

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