Shukadeva: Shiva’s grace on Vyasa

The Mahabharata tells us that Sage Veda Vyasa had meditated on Bhagwan Shiva for a hundred years to obtain a great child. Pleased by Vyasa’s devotion, Shiva blessed him with a son who was as pious as agni (fire), vayu (air), bhumi (earth), jala (water), and akaash (space) and who was fully immersed in Brahman. Right after his birth, Shukadeva knew everything that his father had learned over the ages. And he became revered among the gods and rishis for his understanding.

Because of Shukadeva’s higher awareness, worldly responsibilities could not impress him. And he started his search for liberation early in life. After training with gurus like Janak and Narada, Shukadeva finally decided that he would forever enter the brilliance of Surya (the sun god), the Self of everyone in the solar system. Shukadeva announced, “I need permission from all — snakes, mountains, land, space, gods, and demons. Through the power of my yoga, I will be entering all the souls of the world today.”

When Vyasa heard that his son was no longer alive, he was shocked. Shiva appeared again and said, “There is no need to feel sad. Your son was exactly like what you had expected him to be. As long as mountains and rivers exist, you and your son will be remembered. And by my grace, you will see your son’s shadow everywhere in this world.” When Vyasa looked around, he saw his son in all. And he started smiling.

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