Regarding Paundraka

H.B.Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Mon Jun 12 03:21:26 CDT 2000

Bhaskar Y.R. wrote:

> Dear Lerned Members of Advita-L
> Sashtanga Pranam to all
> Can anyone enlighten me about the history of an imposter called Paundraka,
> even when Krsna was there, who unnecessarily lost his life trying to
> imitate Krsna.

My dear friend,
I wanted to wait for some time before responding to your query. As I do not
find any one responding, I would like to put down something which may help.
Before I write about your question, let me wonder loudly what could be your
purpose for asking this question? Possible purposes will unfold in my
response, which one of them is yours? But we shall talk about it later,
first  the response :

The story of Paundraka appears in shloka 1 to 24 in Adhyaya 66 of Dashama
Skandha (Uttarardha) in Shrimad Bhagavat. The story (what you call history)
is rather simple.

Paundraka, king of Karusha, felt that he was Vaasudeva (because one of his
ancester was named Vasudeva, so say some Acharyas). He dressed like  Shri
Krishna, with Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Talvara, Dhanisha, Vanamala,
ShrivatsaChihna, Pitambara, etc.
Like a actor in  a drama (says Shrimad Bhagavat.)
He sent a word to Shri Krishna that either stop mimicking me or be ready for
a fight. The words he used means "remove your indicators chihnas".
Shri Krishna, of course, gave  a fitting reply (the reply itself contains
some words which are very significant). Subsequently, when it was known that
Paundraka has arrived at Kashi, Shri Krishna attacked both Paudraka and king
of Kashi and destroyed them with His chakra. Besause Paundraka had  even
indirectly remebered Shri Krishna (by mimicking him), he had Sayujya with
Shri Krishan.

sa nitya.m bhagavad dhyaana pradhvastaakhila bandhana.h |"sca hare raajan svarupa.m tanmayo.abhavat ||     (24)

I am sure you did not ask the question just to get this much story, it is
available easily in ISKON's Shrimad Bhagavat. (in fact in some more details.)

What is the "dhvani" of this story? What is Paundraka? What does the story
Some Vaishnava Acharyas say that Paundraka represent the Mayavadi Vedantins
who say Aham brahmaasmi without really understanding meaning of that
Mahavakya. Some say that he represents the false Vaishnava gurus who pose to
their devotees as Krishna incarnate.

IMHO, Paundraka represents Jeeva or mind. Various accessories put on by Shri
Krishna (Vishnu) have the following significance : (ref Dvadasha skandha,
Adhyaya 11) :
Kaustubha mani -- svaatmajyoti
shrivatsa cihna -- its light
vanamalaa -- maya
pitaambara -- chanda, i.e. manifestations, activities;
yaj~nopavita -- a u m pra.nava
gadaa -- mana, praa.naa.h indriyaa.h
paa~ncajanya "sa"nkha -- consciousness
sudar"sana cakra -- Soma, tejas tatva - Kala (Time);

Paundraka (jeeva) puts on these accessories, mimicking Shri Krishna.
A jeeva, who has not yet got final realization and falsely goes on believing
that "I am brahma" (i.e., saying so, without actually reaching that state),
is represented by Paundraka. When Shri Krishna decides to have grace on him,
He by his sudarshana chakra kills that jeeva (i.e.  via the agency of the
bliss in Samadhi and razor sharp knowledge, removes the dehaatmabhaava) and
jeeva achieve saayujya with Shri Krishna.

So, IMHO, the "dhvani" (purport?) of the story is to simply show the progress
of a bhakta from Dvaita stage to Advaita stage in his spiritual journey. I am
embolden to give this interpretation due to one significant word in shloka
(1) aj~na.h ( ignorant) refering to Paundraka.
I hope this answered your doubt.
With best wishes,
-- Himanshu

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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