On the banks of Tungabhadra river, there is a wonderful town. In this town lived a very knowledgeable brahman named Atmadev. He was very wealthy but he was also bigger. He was married to a beautiful wife called Dhundhuli. (Dhundhuli is someone who always has everything their own way). Dhundhuli was born in a good family but she was she was very cunning, arrogant and barren (Just because some is born in a good family does not mean that they are also good, sometimes a good person in a bad family can be born). Still Atmadev and his Dhunduli got on well and were very happy in every way but Atmadev was full of anxiety because they were childless. What is the purpose of all the wealth if I have no child?
With this thought he took a walk in the forest, he came to lake and sat down. At the same time a Rishi was passing-by, Atmadev look at the Rishi and began to cry. The Rishi asked Atmadev what was bothering him.
Atmadev replied :
“What can I say, in my previous life I must have committed many sins that in this life I am very unhappy. Generally everything is fine, I have all the material wealth but I have no child. Not only that, I have a cow and she also does not have a calf. Also I have a mongo tree and that bears no fruit. What kind of sins must I have committed in my past life.”
The Rishi replied:
“O Brahman, it is not true that everybody who has a child is happy, also according to your astrology you will not have a child for seven lifetimes.”
Atmadev was so caught up in his own thoughts that he could understand what the Rishi was trying to say. He insisted that Rishi would give a blessing of a child. Rishi agreed and gave Atmadev a fruit, Rishi said give this fruit to your wife and you shall have a child, but tell her that she must follow truthfulness, remain pure, eat food only once a day and that should be satvik. If she follows these principle then she will have a beautiful son. Hearing this Atmadev quickly ran home with the fruit. The Rishi called back and said that you will have a child but the child will not make you happy.
Atmadev was too excited to listen to this. He went home and gave the fruit to his wife. Straight away Dhundhuli started having bad thoughts (Dhundhuli means bad thoughts). She thought, if she eat the fruit, she will bear a child, then she will put on weight, she will get fat. Also she cannot fulfil the principle that were laid out by the Rishi, she would rather remain childless. She said she would eat the mango in the morning.
Dhundhuli sister soon gave birth to a beautiful son and she gave her son to Dhundhuli. The child was named Dhundhakari.
At the same time the cow gave birth to a beautiful boy. This boy was perfect in every way except that he was born with cows’s ears. Thus they named the boy Gokarana.
Atmadev was now blessed with two son. Both the sons grew up, Gokarana became a great Pandit but Dhundukari grew up with all the bad habits, gambling drinking etc. Atmadev lost all his wealth through Dhunndikari’s habits.
One day, Dhundhukari did all the wrong things, drank all that he should not drink, ate all that he should not eat, kept bad company and asked Atmadev for more money. Atmadev had nothing to give, so Dhundhukari picked up the items that Atmadev user for prayers (Panch Patra) and said “that he will sell these and this should be enough for today but tomorrow. I will need more money and if I do not get any more money, I will become violent”.
At this point Atmadev remembered the words of the Rishi, “the son you receive will not bring you happiness.” This brought tears to Atmadev eyes. Just then Gokarana walked in and asked why Atmadev was so unhappy. Atmadev explained what Dhundhukari threatened to do.
Gokarana reminded Atmadev that there is nobody in this world who is happy with everything. You came into the world with nothing and will go with nothing. This body will ends it's journey and will be cremated and only the ashes will remain. So detached yourself from this body and move on. Family will not join you when you die. However it important to love the family but remain detached. The only thing that comes with you is the deeds that you have performed. Life is like a soap bubble, it is full of colours but you never know when it is going to burst. So follow the path of bhakti, do satsang and that will lead you to divinity.
Son gave advise to the father. Atmadev had taken these words of wisdom and took to the life in a forest.
Next day Dhundhukari came home, looking for his father, his father had left to the forest. Dhundhukari asked his mother, Dhundhuli, for money. Dhundhuli had no money to give and so Dhudhukari became violent. Dhundhuli commited suicide as she could not bear this to happen again.
Gokarana was now alone so he left home.
Dhundhukari kept five wives, his wives became more demanding and dhundhukari resorted to theft.
One day he burgled the Kings palace, he stole so much that he would never ever have to steal again. The Five Wives became scared and thought that Dhandhukari has stolen so much that he shore to be caught and they will also be punished.
With this thought, they decided to murder Dhundhukari and buried him in their own house.
Sometime after, the villager went on a pilgrimage. There they met Gokarana and told him what happen to is brother in the village. Gokarana performed a Shraadha in name of his brother. Gokarana then returned home with the villager. In the middle of night Gokarana was woken up and there he saw the spirit of his brother Dhundhukari. This was very strange because he had perform the shraadha and this should have rested the soul of Dhundhukari.
What this means is that no matter how many shraadtha you perform, if a person has done bad deeds then his soul will not rest.
Early in the morning Gokarana did his prayer to Surayadev and asked how he can rest his brother soul. Suryadev advised that he should perform a Srimad Bhagavat Katha and Dhundhukari should listen to this to obtain mukti (liberation). But it must be recited over seven days.
Gokarana wasted no time and started to prepare for the Katha. He made the mandap from the local Bamboo and invited all the people in village. The spirit of Dhundukari also came but he could not find a place to sit. As he was a spirit he could fit into a space in the Bamboo.
Gokarana started to recite the Srimad Bhagavat Katha and at the end of the first day, one of the knots in the bamboo broke. And at the end of the second day the second knot broken and so on. The bamboo that the spirit was sitting had seven knots so on the seventh day the seventh knot broke and out came the spirit of Dhundhukari. But there were some changes, he had a divine aura around him.
Dhundukari did four parikrama to the Srimad Bhagavatam and thanked Srimad Bhagavatam for the mukti (liberation) from the spirit world. The Lords messenger came to take Dhundhukari way in their vimaan. Gokarana stopped the messenger and said that is was not fair, because Dhundhukari was not the only person listening to the katha. Every one present has the right to mukti. The Lords messenger replied and said that there are many people present here but not all were listening, Dhundhukari was the only one listening.
There are many people who, only listen to katha but are not interested in it. Also there are many people who come to watch, to see what going on, to see who are invited to the katha, to see how nice the food is, etc. not only that they don’t let other listen to the katha. They start talking to other people who are listening.
Gokarana recited the Srimad Bhagavatum again and this time the Lord himself appeared and all the villager obtained mukti.
This is the importance of carefully listening or reading of Srimad Bhagavatam.
Also read story behind three births of Jay and Vijay (gatekeepers of Vaikuntha and devotees of Lord Vishnu):