Stories | Puraan
2-Story of Aatm Dev
From Bhaagvat Puraan, Mahaatmya
Aatm Dev Charitra (life history of Aatm Dev) is from Bhaagvat in its Skandh 1 - in Bhaagvat Mahaatmya. There lived a Braahman by the name Aatm Dev. He was a Sad Braahman (virtuous Braahman). He had learned the Ved and the Shaastra; he was a great Anushthaataa (one who practices Dharm). Bhaagavat describes this Braahman as like Dwiteeya Bhaaskar (the second Sun) - when he walked on the streets people wondered if he were another Sun walking on the street. Such was his luster.
Such a great Aatm Dev had a woe. What was it? He was childless. To overcome this grief he tried Jyotish (astrology), performed Praayashchit (expiation); he tried various means. He tried all ways that he knew - Mantra, Tantra, Yantra, Kriyaa etc, but he was not blessed with a child. He felt greatly grieved. His wife's name was Dhundhulee. He was once out walking carrying the burden of this grief, that he came up to a pond. He sat on the bank of the pond and began to do Aachman (one of the daily rites of a Braahman). At that time there came a Yatee (Sanyaasee / ascetic) . Could not that Yatee who was doing Anushthaan (Karm) remain quiet? He looked at Aatm Dev. He watched what he was doing. Since he watched this man, a kind of Bandh (bondage/relationship) rose up in his heart. Moreover, Aatm Dev, realizing that the Yatee was watching him began to wipe his eyes.
So, this Yatee asked, "O Braahman, Why do you shed tears? What is the matter?"
But, Aatm Dev kept saying - "No! Swaamee, I do desire a child! I do desire a child." ------
So the Yatee gave him a child. After a while he had a son. He named him Dhundukaaree. Dhundhukaaree turned out to be a great drunkard; he visited immoral women and possessed all kinds of vices. He created lots of problems at home and outside. When the Braahman Aatm Dev returned home from pilgrimage he was shocked to find a child like Dhundhukaaree at home. He wondered, "A child born with the blessings (Prasaad) of a Mahaan is said to be virtuous. But, how is it that this son of mine is so full of vices?" He did not know about Gokarn matter.
Gokarn calls Aatm Dev and advises him, "Do not be attached to this body. This body is made up of sheer urine, excreta and flesh. If a drop of blood drops out of our body it is deeply nauseating to look at it. If a bit of flesh falls down it is nauseating; if a tooth falls down it is nauseating. You are attached to such a body. Shed the Bhraanti (illusion) that you have this Shareer (body). Embrace Sanyaas, go somewhere and read Bhaagavat. Repeatedly read its Dasham Skandh (10th Canto)." Aatm Dev then took up the Sanyaas. Although he had refused Sanyaas at first, but, now he took it up voluntarily and as per Gokarn's Upadesh kept repeatedly reading the Bhaagavat. Giving this Upadesh to his father, Gokarn left home for forest.
Where did he go? He wandered about Kaashee and other places. He had a Bandh (bondage). He thought, "Though I was born to a cow, I had an affectionate mother who took care of me. He sees through Gyaan Drishti' (Divine vision) and understands that she and Dhundhukaaree had passed away and hence he thought that he should do Praayaschit (repentence) for them.
We can do Karm only for those over whom we have the right. We should not do Karm for those over whom we have no right. Such Karm will not reach them. Some Dosh (fault) will come about for those who perform it. So, one should have the eligibility also for doing it. But, there is one place where even those people can do Karm for those for whom they have no eligibility. And that place is Gayaa. In Gayaa Kshetra anyone can do Karm for anyone. We can do Karm for a friend, for one who had traveled in the same train, for a dog that was in our home, a cow that was in our home, to the Master who taught us our lessons.
Our Shaastra say that there is no greater Praayaschit than doing Karm in Gayaa Kshetra. The Ved say, "Let you be blessed with not one but ten sons because at least one of them would visit Gayaa. Won't that child offer Pind in Gayaa and won't you cross over life's shore through it?" So says the Ved. Why is the Pind so fruitful there? Vishnu Himself takes unto His Charan (Feet) those for whom Pind is offered there.
It is said so in Vishnupad . But, it is Mahaa Paap (grievous sin) to offer Aatm Pind (offering Pind for one's own self). One should not do such things. There is no Pramaan (evidence) for doing this. While going to Gayaa, we do Karm for those who are known dead in the family; but in the family many unknown Dur-maran (unnatural deaths) might have also occurred; when questioned one might say, "As far as I know there has not been any Dur-maran in my family." But, many perform Abortion. And this is a worse kind of Dur-maran. It is Shishu Hatyaa (murdering a child), Brahm Hatyaa. It is akin to murder. It is a very big sin. But, nobody thinks about this sin. It is a big sin, indeed. Even other murders take place accidentally, but, such killings are done by us purposely. It is a murder. Praayaschit or Shraaddh is prescribed for such kinds of deaths or killings also.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/02/13