“While he was tilling a field with a plow in his hand, it is said that I, the daughter of that king, arose from underneath the earth’s surface.” (Sita Devi speaking to Anasuya, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.28)
तस्य लाङ्गलहस्तन्य कर्षतः क्षेत्रमण्डलम् |
अहं किलोत्थिता भित्वा जगतीं नृपतेस्सुता ||
tasya lāṅgalahastanya karṣataḥ kṣetramaṇḍalam|
ahaṃ kilotthitā bhitvā jagatīṃ nṛpatessutā ||
The spirit soul is actually without a body, in the context that we commonly understand. Hands, legs, eyes, ears – these accompany a material form. The variety in type of vessel is due to the expert craftsmanship of the creator, Lord Brahma. He takes the ingredients of goodness, passion and ignorance, otherwise known as gunas, and generates an output of up to 8,400,000 distinct species.
It is actually the soul which makes a species. Without the spark of life inside, nothing would occur. Proof is there in the event known as death. Once the animating force exits, the exact same form could remain, completely intact, but now no longer viable.
Through the process of yoga the individual can break free of the attachment to the body prior to death. Indeed, the end of life is no guarantee of a permanent release from the cycle of acceptance and rejection. The objects on which the consciousness dwells lead to the next kind of existence, as explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
श्रोत्रं चक्षुः स्पर्शनं च
रसनं घ्राणम् एव च
अधिष्ठाय मनश् चायं
śrotraṁ cakṣuḥ sparśanaṁ ca
rasanaṁ ghrāṇam eva ca
adhiṣṭhāya manaś cāyaṁ
“The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, tongue, and nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.9)
Upon learning that yoga is for the ultimate benefit, the next question relates to working. If a person stays in their occupation, how can they be in yoga? How can any person carry on with their prescribed duties when such effort automatically involves attachment to a body?
King Janaka of Videa is an ideal example in the purpose of exhibiting the ability to transcend the attachment to the forms created by Lord Brahma while continuing with occupational duties. That great yogi lacked attachment in key areas.
My car. My house. My wife. My children. Vedic teachings reveal that the individual falls into illusion through the concepts of “I” and “mine.” For starters, the “I” is a misidentification. I consider my body to identify me. This begins at the time of birth, and without specific outside instruction the mistaken identity lasts for the duration of the lifetime.
The mistaken “I” extends to the concept of objects. I think that the house is mine, though the raw materials were in existence prior to my arrival in this world. I think that the land belongs to me, though I was not responsible for placing it there. It is “my” country, though in the next life there is every chance of taking birth in an area today considered a rival.
Janaka did not carry such false conceptions. He was not attached to objects, though they were all around. He was king, so this meant that any enjoyment would be available to him. Like getting an idea and quickly conducting a search using the smartphone nearby, Janaka could have the desired object manifest before him soon after conceiving the idea.
Interview for a new job and you are likely to be asked questions such as these:
“What are your goals and objectives? What do you hope to accomplish at work? Where do you see yourself in ten years?”
The rationale makes sense. Who would work without considering the consequence? Why apply effort unless there is a desired result on the other side? Indeed, the promise of enjoyment is the stimulus; otherwise remaining asleep in bed is the preferred option.
Janaka was not attached to objectives, though he continued to work. Take the time he worked to plough a field for a sacrifice. He had no need for bringing piety to the area since he was himself pious. A saintly person is considered a travelling tirtha. People travel from far and wide to visit pilgrimage sites in hopes of accumulating punya [pious credits]. The potency of a true saint is such that they bring the piety with them, to wherever they go.
Janaka followed yajna as a matter of duty. Whether the proper reward arrived made no difference to him. To show that such detachment coupled with respect to prescribed duties is rewarded, the wife of the Supreme Lord appeared before Janaka. She was in the ground in the form of a baby. The king who was not attached to anything developed instant affection for her, taking her in his arms.
This did not disqualify the Videha status. We can therefore deduce that something beyond strict detachment exists. There is substance to the life in liberation, wherein pure emotions can be exhibited. This reveals what exists on the other side of yoga practice. Unlike with attachment to the temporary body, the association with the Divine through consciousness can last forever, lifetime after lifetime.
Reward for allegiance pious life,
Appearing there Vishnu’s wife.
As small baby in the ground,
Janaka with joy abound.
Not the Videha status breaking,
Since bhakti spirit taking.
Objects or objectives of no concern,
Now Lakshmi his daughter to learn.