Epitome of Graciousness
“Hansa” is a Hindi word for a bird called swan. Swan is endowed with a unique quality that enables it to separate milk and water when mixed together and only drink the milk, while leaving the water behind.
This world is made of Maya and has both good and bad elements in it. The one who ignores the bad and the unacceptable part of the world and embraces the good and acceptable part of the world can be compared to a swan (hansa). God has created the world with mobile, immobile, good and bad elements.
The saints choose only good things from them and ignore the rest as a swan chooses only milk and leaves the water. Those saints, who constantly remain in a deep meditative state and hence do not perceive any good or bad part of the material world, are known as “Paramhans” (perfect-swan).
Shukdev Ji was such an elevated saint, a “Paramhans”. Shukdev Ji Maharaj was a born “Paramhansa”. He stayed inside his mother’s womb for 12 years. When his father, the great sage Ved Vyas Ji Maharaj would recite a Sanskrit verse, Shukdev Ji would often correct Ved Vyas Ji from inside the womb,
One day Ved Vyas Ji Maharaj asked him, “Who are you and why don’t you come out?” Shukdev Ji Maharaj replied from within his mother’s womb saying, “I am afraid that as soon as I come out of the womb, I will be dominated by the mighty power of God-Maya”. Ved Vyas urged him to come out and assured him that he will bless him such that Maya will never be able to come near him and that he will be free from the clutches of Maya forever. Hearing this assurance from his father, Shukdev Ji finally came out of his mother’s womb and in a state of trance started walking towards an undisclosed location. Ved Vyas Ji called him several times, but such was the deep state of his Samadhi (meditation) that he was unable to hear his father’s words.
Bhag 1.1.3 As Shukdev Ji was walking, he crossed a pond on his way, wherein some celestial nymphs were taking a bath. Being in a state of Samadhi, he did not see them or pay any attention to them. Ved Vyas who was following his son, also crossed the same pond. The nymphs immediately covered themselves with clothes. Ved Vyas scolded them saying, “Ladies! Firstly, you are offending Varun Dev by entering into the pond without wearing any clothes. Secondly, you did not cover yourselves when my young son passed by and are now throwing a pretense, by trying to cover yourselves seeing me!” The nymphs answered, “We beg your pardon Sir; your son is a great ‘Paramhansa’. He looked at us but saw nothing. There was no expression of lust, anger, hatred or guilt in his eyes. On the contrary, when you saw us, you got angry. It means that you see the difference between male and female, good and bad. That is why we started covering up our bodies upon seeing you. The student told him that it was a verse from the great scripture Bhagwat Mahapuran composed by his own father, the great sage Ved Vyas Ji Maharaj.
Hearing this Shukdev Ji was overwhelmed and said, “Please take me to my father.” But then, a disappointing thought crossed his mind He thought, if Shri Krishna is so good-looking and charming, why would He appear before me? Shukdev Ji sat down in meditative trace again. The student came back and narrated this incident to Ved Vyas, who then taught another verse of Bhagavat to the student and asked him to narrate it to Shukdev Ji.
Bha. 3.2.23 Shri Krishna is so merciful that He blessed the demoness, Pootna, for eternity by sending her to His divine abode, Golok. She had smeared deadly poison on her breasts and fed the poisoned milk to baby Krishna, with an intention to kill Him. When Shri Krishna was asked the reason for this graciousness, He made an excuse and said, “I drank her milk; that makes her my mother. Where else would I send my mother, other than my abode”? Hearing this verse, Shukdev Ji was convinced that none can be more gracious than Shri Krishna Himself. Then why would he seek any other refuge? Thinking this, Shukdev Ji followed the student back to the ashram of Ved Vyas Ji Maharaj and listened to the entire Bhagavad from him.
Shri Krishna is an embodiment of utmost graciousness. Hearing this story of Pootna, even the worst of sinners will be encouraged to love God. This story gives the devotee a reason to have faith that Shri Krishna will accept them too and they too will attain the highest bliss.