Apr-24: The story of Atmadeva

24 Apr

The Mahamantra was led by Zivanji and family from Chicago.

Narayananji from Boston gave a short talk on the significance of satsang:

In Priyavrata’s charitra in Srimad Bhagavatam, the king’s great qualities are highlighted. After tgatm Sage Suka continues to narrate Priyavrata’s lineage. His son was Nabhi and Nabhi’s son was called Rishaba. Rishaba Yogeeshwara was a personification of dispassion. He gave away his entire kingdom to his sons and wandered from place to place like true renunicate.
Bharatha was his eldest son who ruled our land and hence the name Bharata Desha.
In today’s satsang, let us reminisce the other nine sons who were great Yogishwaras themselves – Kavi, Hari, Antariksha, Pippalayana, Prabuddha, Avirhotra, Drumila, Chamasa and Karabhajana. Once these nine great men showed up at the court of King Nimi, who ruled over the Videha kingdom. They shared their pearls of wisdom at the sacrifice in Nimi’s court, which forms part of the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam that speaks about the greatest truths.
Nimi welcomed them and said,
“Durlabho Manusho deho dehinaam kshanabanguraha
Thatrapi durlabam manyae vaikunta Priya darshanam”
King Nimi says that it is very difficult to be blessed with a human birth, and even when thus blessed is highly fleeting. However, the rarest of all is to have the darshan of someone who is a realized soul.

He further goes to say,
“…samsaaresmin kshanaardhopi satsangah sevadhir nrunaam”
In this world of mundane desires, even half a moment of true satsang is precious, he says. A satsang is either the association with a realized soul or a place where the Divine Names and glories of God are spoken about. Our Friday satsangs are examples.

Then, Zivanji lectured on the importance of Srimad Bhagavatam as seen in Padma Purana. He quoted the story of Atmadeva to outline the glory of Srimad Bhagavatam.

On the banks of Tungabdra river, lived a well learned person by name Atmadeva. He was good natured person, while on the contrary, his wife, Dunduli always liked to talk about others and cause chaos in other families. The fact that he was not blessed with a child made Atmadeva a very sad man. He performed Putra Kameshti Yagna and other rituals, but of no avail.
Atmadeva lived with a ray of hope that someday he will be blessed with a child. However, as years passed by, his hopes started to diminish and one day unable to control his emotions, set out of the house. He didn’t know where he was going and finally reached a jungle. He was sitting under a tree and there was a beautiful river in front of a tree. After some time, he saw a sage taking a dip in that river. His eyes caught sight of Atmadeva and seeing him in a very depressed state walked towards him and enquired about him. As we all know, Sadhus are compassion personified and seeing the Sadhu, Atmadeva couldn’t control his emotions told all about him. After hearing his desire to be blessed with a child, he started to perceive if he was fortunate to have a child in that birth.

The Sadhu could foresee that Atmadeva was destined with no child birth not only in his present birth but also in all his future births. Hearing this from the sage’s mouth Atmadeva broke down and the sage was unable to console him. The sage tried to advise him that as the number of relationships (like the father-child/ husband-wife) increases, they are accompanied with joy and sorrow as well. The sage talked to him on the realties of life and advised him to take the path of an ascetic. The only relationship that an ascetic life has is that of a Guru-Sishya and that path has only eternal happiness.

Atmadeva was not ready to hear it. He started to reason out as to why he didn’t want to adopt to the path of a sanyasa. It is said that in our shastras, there is forgiveness for the sins that one commits in a worldly life, but once if we take the path of Sanyasa then there is no forgiveness for any sins that a Sanyasi might incur. Atmadeva declined and he told him that he was not ready for it yet. He still insisted that he wanted a child.

Seeing Atmadeva in that state, the sage gave Atmadeva a fruit and requested his wife to eat it and told him that they will soon be blessed with a child upon eating the fruit. Mahans have divine powers that they can even change the fate of a person as seen above. Atmadeva was destined to not have a child in all his births, but an acquaintance with a sadhu changed his fate. The mahans due to their intense penance can play football with all the nine planets and change the destiny of any person.

Overjoyed by this, he thanked the sage and came back to his house and asked his wife to eat the fruit. His wife was not very happy to hear this. She did not want to have a child as she was not prepared to bear the pain during the child birth. She devised a plan and asked Atmadeva to go out on a pilgrimage tour before the child was born. Atmadeva agreed to this and happily set off. In the meanwhile, she threw the fruit in her cow shed. She was curious to see the outcome of the sage’s prediction and so she waited to see if the cow gave birth after eating the fruit. In the meanwhile, her sister also gave birth to a child and she had already decided to adopt that child and had already had planned to inform her husband that it was indeed their child who was born after eating the fruit. Meanwhile, the cow also gave birth to a human who had cow’s ears.

Atmadeva returned from his tour and was very excited to hear the great news. He named his first son as Dundukari, who was born through his sister-in-law and named the other son who had cow’s ears as Gokarna. As expected, Gokarna had all divine qualities while Dundukari had all the vices.

Over time, Dundukari started to abuse his parents and this really worried Atmadeva. Seeing his father being abused by Dundukari, Gokarna requested his father to renounce the world and requested him to go to forest to do penance and read Srimad Bhagavatam. This was what the Sadhu had earlier told him to do!

Sadhus and Mahans speak very little. Their actions are only for our well-being. So obey the sadhus orders without questioning it. Atmadeva promptly abided to his son’s words and left the house and set out to forest. He did penance after couple of years attained the lotus feet of the Lord. Gokarna left his house after his father’s departure. Dunduli who couldn’t bear her son’s torture ended her life as well.

As years passed by, Dundukari started to commit more and more sins by bringing women folks to his house. The women folks who couldn’t withstand the torture decided to punish him and they killed him and ran away from that place. The news spread far and wide and Gokarna on hearing his brother’s demise and Dunduli’s death , after performing the final rites in Gaya decided to return to his house. When he returned, a very gory sight caught him. His house was in a very terrible state. He sat in his usual spot in his house to do penance when he heard a strange voice. He started moving in the direction towards the voice and along his way he sprinkled water. At that moment he saw a very horrible face. Upon enquiry he found out that it was Dundukari.

Dundukari told him that the sufferings that he was currently undergoing was inexplicable and was due to the sins that he had committed and requested Gokaranan to find an elixir for the sufferings that he was currently undergoing so that he can reach the holy feet of the Lord. Gokarna decided to help his brother. He went around asking people on the remedy and everybody told him that the final rites which he performed in Gaya would suffice and if that didn’t help then nothing else would help! But Gokarna was not dithered by this and he continued asking many learned scholars and one of them advised him to ask verily the Sun God. So Gokarana went to Lord Surya and asked him for the remedy. ‘ Perform Bhagavata Saptaham’- came the reply. That is the only resort for the soul to attain Moksha. So he immediately made all the arrangements for the saptaha. The arrangements were akin to that of a grand wedding.

In addition to this, he bought a bamboo shoot with seven nodes and installed Dundukari’s soul onto it. At the conclusion of everyday’s Parayana of the Saptaha one node would burst open, signifying that each and every day of the Saptaha bestows good merits. At the end of the seventh day, all the seven nodes burst open, Vishnu Dhootas arrived in a vehicle from Vaikunta and took Dundukari along with them.

Such is the prowess for Srimad Bhagavatha Saptaham. When the villagers questioned as to why it was only Dundukari who attained the holy feet of the Lord and not them, it was because he listened to the whole Saptaham with full devotion and concentration.

Thus Sanatkumaras narrate the glory of the Bhagavata Saptaham to Sage Narada.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

2 Responses to “Apr-24: The story of Atmadeva”

  1. Avadhuta Maharaja June 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Now there is one part of the Katha regarding Dundukari’s deliverance which was left out, but is very important. Dundukari was delivered but the rest of the audience was not. Why? Because they were not attentive. So it is that many come to hear Katha but their minds are somewhere else. When it was revealed to the audience that only Dundukari was delivered since he was desperate to change his situation, was fasting and heard with great attention. So then the audience prepared themselves for another recital at which they then concentrated on the words of the Bhagavat Katha with great attention and were then also delivered to Vaikuntha by the Vishnuduttas.
    If the speaker is good but the audience bad, then there is no result. The sadhana may be good, but if one is not hearing the japa, or concentrating while doing puja, then the goal will be missed. Thus, for the best result we should hear Katha of Bhagavat, not from a professional man, or one who is doing it for profit, but from a realized soul and when he speaks we should be very very attentive to his words, as they are considered ‘shabda brahman’.


  1. Jun 12: Bhagavatam and Mahans « A Journal of Nama Kirtan Satsangs - July 2, 2009

    […] It is a fact that mere reading of Srimad Bhagavatam leads to liberation. This is very lucidly seen in the case of Atmadeva’s Charithra where Gokarna performed Srimad Bhagavata Saptham for his brother Dundukari, who attained the Holy feet of the Lord by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam with rapt attention. Such is the greatness of Srimad Bhagavatam.   Read about this story in detail here. […]

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