Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dharma, karma and dilemma!



We often encounter situations where we would not be sure

whether our decision or action is right or wrong.

Our sense of rightness will tell us to do something.

But the situation may require us to do a contrary thing –

which we would not like to do.



And there may be situations -as I explained in the previous post on parents,

where we may not be convinced to act in a particular way,

but dharmic stance would require that we should not act against them (parents / others).

Acting or not acting in a particular way would invite reactionary karma

that we may not be exactly sure of the dharma of our actions or non-actions.

This is what is known as ‘dharma-shankatam”

a shankat to dharma-

a dilemma in dharma!



To understand this, we have some popular instances from

Ramayana and Mahabharatha.


(1) Honoring the words of the parent is

the supreme dharma (pithru vakhya pariphalan).

Rama did that.

But Bharata did not listen to his mother’s words

of taking up the reign of the kingdom.

Didn’t he slip in his dharma by not honoring his mother’s words?



(2) The brother is supreme - next only to father.

When Rama went to forest, Sumitra directed Lakshmana

to follow the brother as a father.

But Vibheeshana deserted his brother Ravana

and even revealed the secrets of Lanka to help Rama win Lanka.

Didn’t he commit a travesty of Dharma by doing that?



(3) A similar accusation can be said of Sugreeva

who plotted and killed his brother.

Was that dharmic?



(4) Were the Pandavas right in keeping silent

when Draupadi was dis-robed?

Whatever be the constraint in having lost the game,

was it dharmic not to stop the humiliation heaped on Draupadi?




Analyzing these popular issues,

let me surf through the implications of

what constitutes dhrama in a particular instance

and what must be done in a controversial or conflicting situation

and how one must analyze the situation

as to arrive at the ideal dharmic option.





The basis of any action or karma is two-fold that determines

whether an action or karma

is dharmic or adharmic.


One is swadharma vs shreyas

and the other is swadharma vs preyas.


Swadharma is what one must do due to his nature.

Shreyas is what is good for others / a large section of people.

Preyas is what is liked by –good for oneself.



When Swadharma and shreyas go together and

match with each other, then dharma is in place.

When they don’t go together, conflicts arise.

The resultant action may be in tune with only one of these two

or one is done at the expense of the other.



For example the swadharma of a soldier is to fight.

If he fights (takes up arms) for the country it is for shreyas.

That is dharmic.

If he takes up arms to settle scores with some one or

without orders from High command,

then that is for preyas.

That is adharmic.



Texts declare (Katohpanishad)

that shreyas and preyas are the two factors

that control a man in his actions.

Whether he likes it or not or

whether he is ready for it or not,

the man is faced with an inevitable situation of

adhering to one of these two at any given situation.

A ‘dheeran’ understands the difference

between the two and adheres to shreyas.

But a ‘mUdan’ allows himself to be pulled by preyas

thereby slipping out of Purushartham (Kato –2-1 &2-2)



Applying this distinction in the situations given above,

let us see what comes up.

(1) Noble Bharata did not observe the injunction "matru devo bhava"

and chided his mother Kaikeyi using abusive words,

for sending Rama to the forest thereby

also causing the death of Dasaratha.

The swadharma of Bharatha as son of Kaikeyi

Requires him to abide by whatever she says.

He did not follow swadharma in this situation

but that can not be termed as adharmic.


Why?


Let us think of the situation like this –

that Bharatha had been very much in Ayodhya

when kaikeyi caught hold of this plan.

Assuming that Bahratha had come to know of her intentions

Even before she could reveal it to Dhasharatha,

what his swadharma had been like?



I don’t think he would have accepted kaikeyi’s plan.

His swadharma as her son requires him

to counsel her in the right ways.

He would have certainly prevailed upon her and

changed her mind.

Perhaps sensing that he would play a spoil sport,

destiny had him removed from the scene

to enable Ramavathara - purpose to happen.

Now he had come back and come to know

what damage his mother had done.

His swadharma in the action of counseling in the former situation

had changed into chiding her.



In the former situation (hypothetical) too

he had stuck to what is good for all (shreyas) and

in the latter condition too he had stuck to shreyas.

His swadharma did not suffer on any account,

for, he has only acted in the best way (in chiding her)

that would do good to his mother

(since his swadharma constitutes in bringing glory to his mother

and not dis-repute which would have happened

if he had agreed to his mother’s plans).


There was no conflict in the choice of shreyas and preyas for Bharatha

for whom both merged together in having desired

the crown to go to Rama.

There was no conflict in his swadharma and shreyas for him

(it was for Kaikeyi only)

in this sense (mentioned above)

and there is conflict as well,

if going against mother’s wish is against swadharma.

But Bharatha stuck to shreyas unwaveringly.



(2)In the next example, Vibhishana deserted his brother Ravana

and joined his enemy Rama.


But Kumbakarna didn’t, though he too thought that

Ravana was not right.

Kumbakarna decided to stick to his swadharma,

while Vibheeshna failed in it.

He saw greater good in saving Rakshasas and their kingdom

from complete destruction on account

of the mis-deed of their king.

He saw justification in the war on Rama’s side

and not on Ravana’s side.

Where there is justification, there is dharma.

And dharma is what is to be protected and sustained.

So vibheeshana too gave priority to shreyas.



(3) In the example on Sugreeva,

Sugreeva plotted and succeeded in killing his brother Vali,

taking the help of Rama.



But there is no conflict of any nature in this case.

Sugreeva plotted and killed Vali.

So too Vali who can be accused of having denied

Sugreeva any share in kingdom and

in driving his brother out of kingdom.

The same with reference to taking possession of each other’s wife

in the other’s absence.


So the question of dharma or adharma must lie elsewhere.


Before he concludes the series of accusations on Rama

after he was hit, Vali says that

it is perfectly legitimate for Sugreeva

to have aspired for the kingdom and in having plotted to kill him

to get that kingdom.

Such was the legitimacy conferred on kings of

yore whose main job was to expand their kingdom.



But the dharma angle comes at another place –

in why Rama waited for a day to kill Vali and

allowed Sugreeva to be hit badly by Vali on the first day.

It is difficult to believe that Rama had difficulty in

identifying who is who.

He need not have to be present in the scene.

He could have just sent the astra from any place.

That would have hit Vali precisely.

But that he decided to allow Sugreeva suffer

at Vali’s hands in the first day, can have one explanation.

Rama would have either thought that

Sugreeva needed some kind of punishment –

like some impediment in the path of Rama

in helping him which must be removed –

or he had not yet made up his mind

who is more culpable in the offence for which he killed Vali

(refer “The symbolism of Vali vadam”

http://jayasreesaranathan.blogspot.com/2008/06/symbolism-of-vaali-vadham.html )



Both Vali and Sugreeva had known that Sita had been abducted

and both had not taken any effort to prevent the abduction.

One way of looking at Rama’s

deliberate letting of Sugreeva to suffer on the first day is that

he did not want to let go Sugreeva

who had actually seen the abduction.


Sugreeva may think that he is an a-shakthan (powerless)

to prevent Ravana.

No, that can not be accepted.

Even if some one is getting killed in front of one’s eyes,

the witness is expected to do something,

atleast scream and alert others and do

something to prevent the crime.


Claiming himself to be an a-shakthan,

Sugreeva let Ravana safely cross Kishkintha.

Inspite of being a shakthan (powerful),

Vali, let that happen unchallenged.


Depending on the extent and nature of the offence,

each one of them faced respective punishments.

Vali failed both in swadharma and shreyas –

the former in failing to challenge the offence in his capacity as king,

that went past his territory and

the latter in having failed to install the Ikshvaku-Raj-dharma

(refer the previously quoted post in this blog.)




(4) And now about Pandava brothers.

The Pandava brothers restrained themselves

due to the Rules of contract and raja dharma and

did nothing to stop the humiliation done to

their wife Draupadi in open court.



A clear case of ignoring shreyas happened

earlier to this - which can be termed as

the root cause of this event.

Yudhishtra agreeing meekly to play the

dice-game at the first instance

and again at the second instance

may be in tune with his swadharma

(in having to abide by the King’s decree)

but not in the interests of shreyas.

He just ignored to weigh the invitation to play as against

the probable consequences in the first instance

and refused to fall on shreyas (knowing well what is in store)

in the second instance.



And now the most important of all –

the well –known instance from Mahabharatha.

Arjuna at first turned against waging war with the kauravas

(against his swadharma),

because of the Dharmic rule against killing one's own kin and guru

but later, on Krishna's advice,

took active part in the war and killed his

close relatives and gurus.



His swadharma is to fight the war.

His preyas dictated that he must not fight against relatives.

But shreyas is that though they are relatives

they have to be fought against, as they sided with unjust cause.



This is a very clear instance of shreyas

falling in line with swadharma.

When they go together, dharma is established and

it is glory all the way for the one in the situation.

Whenever the conflict between the two had occurred

(like in Vibheeshana’s case),

the process of arriving at the right decision (shreyas)

had been wrought with dilemmas of sorts.



Here a question comes ,-

is this what Krishna, the Gitacharyan says?


He has not just once but twice said that swadharma,

though ill-done is better than para-dharma. (verses

3-35 & 18-47- shreyan swadharmo viguna:)

So why think about shreyas?



A deeper analysis of the verses give some insight.

To understand this, let us see the issues like this.


Gita talks about 3 phases of swadharma.

First there is a swabhava (18-41)

arising from Tri-gunas.


From swabhava arises swakarma

which is what the person does

in consonance with his nature (swabhava)

(BG-18-47 “swabhava niyatham karma)


Doing swakarma steadfastly is swadharma. (18-47)



Why does the Lord insist on swadharma

even if it is of ill-nature?


This question gives rise to another question.


What if the person’s swadharma is of bad and demonic nature

(like what Ravana did)?


Is it right then to allow the person to continue in that swabhava?

The first question is answered from

Ramanujacharya’s point of view.


He says when one clings to swadharma,

he is doing something that is of his nature and

easy to perform.

Even if it is defective,

it is ‘free from liability to interruption and fall’.

This is known as karma yoga.


He continues,

“ For a person who lives practicing Karma yoga –

which is his duty because he is qualified for it-

even death without success in one birth does not matter.

For, in the next birth with the help of experience

already gained in the previous birth,

it will be possible for him to perform Karma yoga

without any impediments.” (Gita bhashyam 3-35)



That is why the Lord says

‘stick to swadharma even if it has sprung

from defective nature.’



To reply to the second question,

for average persons like us

the Lord indicates in chapter 16

what kind of divine qualities and demonic qualities are there to follow.


A thorough adherence to divine qualities and

A conscious shedding of demonic qualities w

ill help us shape our swabhava (nature) for the better.

If we don’t turn our minds from demonic qualities,

He is sure to doom us into demon-hood further.



Ravana didn’t change his demonic qualities.

So his swadharma just stuck to him.

His refusal to look other way came as an impediment

in seeing what is shreyas for him and his race.

No Hitopadesam from anyone worked,

the reason for which is traced to his swabhava.


Vibheeshana was able to see shreyas and

escaped terrible fate.

The presence of divine qualities in him helped him in this.


From the Lord’s words on swadharma

it may be construed that He favours only swadharma

at the expense of shreyas.


No, this is where He expects us

to stop,

think and proceed.

In 2-31, He brings out a qualitative attribute to swadharma.


A war that is

“dharmyaath “ is greater.

“There is no greater good

than a righteous war.”


In such a war, Arjuna,

you should not waver from your swadharma.

Again in 2-33, He says,

” if you don’t fight this righteous war,

you will be turning away from your

swadharma and honoured position

and will be incurring sin.”


Thus He adds this ‘righteous’ or ‘dharma’ clause

to swadharmam.

The same swadharma (to fight) applies to Kauravas too

but He didn’t ask them to fight.

Instead He asked them to relent.


Because any war that

they were planning to wage would not be dharmic.

He advised Yudhishtra to give a go-by to his swadharma,

though temporarily, to eliminate Drona,

because only then dhrama can be established

(Here shreyas has been given precedence).



Bheeshma failed to make such temporary amends with his swadharma

( and allowed shreyas to take a beating)

and so he saw the down fall of the Hastinapur throne

which he avowed to safe-guard, right in front of his eyes.

Karna stuck to his swadharma and perhaps overcame

what Raamanuja says as impediments.



Coming to our lives, our focus can be like this.


Be aware of our swabhava.


Follow the divine qualities and shed demonic ones.


When the situation presents a conflict between

swadharma and shreyas, follow shreyas.


A dharmaic shreyas requires one to follow or

shed swadhrama accordingly.


Shreyas takes precedence, not swadharma.



This situation may be very difficult to follow.

In all those actions (and in every action too)

Follow equi-distance from pleasure and pain,

success and defeat and

profit and loss. (2-38, sukha-dhukkhe..)


In that way the Lord assures that we are relieved of paapam.

Such sama-dhrushti ultimately helps one to renounce

sarva-dharman whereby we are required to shed even

swadharma.


When that level is attained we will automatically find

ourselves at the feet of the Lord.


We will become only

the ‘nimittham’ (instrument) (BG 11-33) in His hands.

The doership, doing and results would be His, not

ours.



Thus the “maam yekam sharanam vraja”

has its beginning in swabhava,

then swakarma,

then swadharma and lastly

but not at the least in shreyas.


When we cling to shreyas, the Lord is pleased.

Because

Shreyas is dhrama and

dharma is what the Lord is terribly obsessed with!!!






7 comments:

Anonymous said...

From

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vedic-wisdom/message/437


What is Dharma ?

by PV Narasimh Rao.


As Vimalananda says, dharma is indeed personal. Krishna clearly says in
Bhagavad Geeta "Follow your own dharma. It is dangerous to follow someone
else's dharma".

Following the path of dharma basically means engaging in the right
action/duty. Right action varies from person to person, from time to time
and from place to place. It is dependent on what nature expects from you,
which in turn is based on who you have been in the past, what actions you
did in the past while identifying with the action, who you affected in the
past (and how) with the actions that you identified with, what debts you
created in the process, and what mental tendencies you accumulated until
now.

If, based on one's mental tendencies and karmic debts, nature wants a person
to kill evil persons, that becomes one's dharma. If, based on one's mental
tendencies and karmic debts, nature wants a person to spread the message of
uniformity of all religions, that becomes one's dharma. If, based on one's
mental tendencies and karmic debts, nature wants a person to spread the
ritual of homam in the world, that becomes one's dharma. If, based on one's
mental tendencies and karmic debts, nature wants a person to make a lot of
money and construct a temple, that becomes one's dharma.

* * *

The dharma of a being may change from one life to another.

At the time of Mahabharata war, it was Arjuna's dharma to kill his gurus,
elders and relatives. The time then was such that there was too much weight
on earth and nature wanted earth to be relieved of some weight. Tremendous
destruction was to take place and civilization destroyed to a great extent,
to welcome Kali yuga and set the tone for it. Arjuna being a great warrior,
it was his dharma to facilitate that. Some people he deeply loved and
respected were on the other side and it was his dharma to kill them.

When the same Arjuna was born again in the 19th century as one of
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's sishyas (Swami Yogananda had been Arjuna in a
previous life, according to Ramakrishna), his dharma was different in this
new time and place. He was born to renounce material life despite his
aristocratic upbringing and live the simple life of a monk and inspire
generations to embrace a simple life of mental detachment and service to
others. When he is born again (which he has to, as per what Ramakrishna
said), his dharma based on the time and place may be something else.

* * *

The tricky question is: How does one decide what is one's dharma?

Some people have interpreted Krishna's words saying "follow your own dharma
and not someone else's dharma" in the light of castism. Though the concept
of caste (varna) has been there in Hinduism for a long time, the concept of
caste mobility was very much there. Valmiki was a shudra who lived by
killing birds. He became a brahmana and a maharshi later. Vishwamitra was a
kshatrita and a powerful king. He became a brahmana and and a maharshi
later. Basically varna shows one's aptitude. One starts off with the varna
of father, because that is what one is exposed to in childhood. As one
develops in life, one gets one's own varna based on what one does.

Thus, the misinterpretation of Krishna's words which tells you to know your
dharma from your caste is wrong. Moreover, there are not just 4 dharmas in
the world. Each person has individual dharma.

Knowing what one's dharma is is very very very difficult. If one is pure
enough, one will *know* one's dharma. In fact, all of us have a part of our
mind that tells us what our dharma is, but it is surrounded by a lot of
noise from other parts of our minds which tell other things. Thus, we get
confused.

We should make the best judgment combining discrimination and intuition and
decide what is our dharma and follow it sincerely. We may be err, but doing
the best we can is all that we can do!

More than following dharma, what is of utmost importance is to engage in
actions without identification. *That* alone ensures that we are not
accumulating new karmas, i.e. not increasing the load. We should not build
too much attachment to what we are doing. We should engage in the best
possible actions (based on our best judgment on what our dharma in the given
situation is), with as little attachment and self-identification with the
action as possible. When the action is finished, we should leave the result
to god. We should not think "I did it", "what will happen now", "will it
work" etc. Such adherence of nishkama karma yoga (unfication through
untached action) will simplify our ego and purify our consciousness slowly.
As we become purer, our mind will work sharper and tell our dharma clearer.
There is a positive feedback here. This will slowly enable us to see our
dharma clearly and follow it without incurring new karmas. This is not easy,
but not as difficult as people think.

The bottomline is: Even if one is not following one's dharma, one's sense of
"this is my dharma" gets refined with time if one engages in action with
little attachment.

* * *

In deciding one's dharma, one's intellect and intuition are the inputs.
Another external input is the words of scriptures and learned men. One can
derive one's dharma from them. A special place is given to one's spiritual
master. If one surrenders to a spiritual master, one can take the words of
the master to determine one's dharma and follow it sincerely.

When Arjuna was confused about what his dharma was and thought killing gurus
and relatives was not dharma, he had a guru in Krishna who clarified his
dharma. When Narendranath (Swami Vivekananda) was confused about his dharma
and wanted to renounce the world and go to a secluded place to do sadhana,
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa cried and prevailed upon him to stay in the material
world and do the work of Mother for him.

One who is not in tune with nature and does not know who one is, what one's
debts are and what nature expects from one can err in the judgment of what
one's dharma is. If one's guru is an elevated soul with a clear insight into
one's inner core, such a guru can give perfect guidance.

* * *

Bottomline is that I (or anybody) cannot outline a set of principles and
declare that as the dharma. No, dharma changes from person to person, from
time to time and from place to place. Also, there are no thumbrules to find
out what one's dharma is. But, one can refine one's understanding of one's
dharma by increasing internal purity. By doing various kinds of spiritual
sadhana (like homam, japam etc) and engaging in actions without much
attachment, one can slowly purify oneself and refine one's understanding of
one's individual dharma.

Vasundhara said...

Jayasree Mami,

Thank you for all your articles - very very insightful.

You have indicated beautifully about the Swadharma and Shreyas of Bharatha.

Most often we are in situations where our Swadharma and Shreyas do not match. In that case, you have said choose Shreyas.

But if Swadharma and Shreyas are one and the same and what is in reality Preyas for the family appears as shreyas in the short-term, what should one do?

How do you explain the lead character of Enge brahmanan (I know it is fictional, unlike Ramayana and Mahabharatha). He goes against his parents (again conflicting with pithru dharma).
It appears preyas to others. Is his case similar to Bharatha?

If he were to choose preyas and his father's business AND not the Swadharma + Shreyas combination, then, his will be a life full of conflict!

What are the astrological indicators that a person can or will choose shreyas/preyas - or one can expect harmony in family relations - so that one does swadharma + shreyas and is not doing preyas in short or long term?

Thank you again.

jayasree said...

Dear Ms Vasundhara.

>>>>> Thank you for all your articles - very very insightful.<<<<

(Re)

I am very happy to receive a response to this article because this issue is too dear to me which in my opinion is one of the main themes of Bhagawad Gita and helps us to identify what constitutes Dharma in a given situation.

*****

>>>>You have indicated beautifully about the Swadharma and Shreyas of Bharatha.

Most often we are in situations where our Swadharma and Shreyas do not match. In that case, you have said choose Shreyas.

But if Swadharma and Shreyas are one and the same and what is in reality Preyas for the family appears as shreyas in the short-term, what should one do?<<<

(Re)

This must be assessed from the situation. From what you say, the shreyas of a person differs from preyas of the family. We must ascertain if what you call as preyas of the family can indeed be identified as preyas.

In any situation the popular adage to remember is – for the sake of a country, a village can be lost, for the sake of a village a family can be lost (or sacrificed) and for the sake of a family, the individual can be lost. This is the greater virtue, greater dharma and shreyas too.

The Pithru vaakya paripaalanam is the greater virtue of a family. Any one of the brothers can be crowned. But if father’s integrity and honour can be safeguarded only by your act of renouncing the crown, do it, as no one else can safeguard that integrity of the father at that time. So Rama considered Pithru vakya paripaalan scoring over the wishes of people.

Contrasting is the situation faced by Bharatha. By honouring his mother’s wishes, he is not doing good to her integrity and name. That is why I said that if only Bharatha has had any inkling of Kaikeyi’s intentions beforehand, he would have nipped them in the bud.

*****
(contd)

jayasree said...

Dear Ms Vasundhara

(cont'd)

>>>How do you explain the lead character of Enge brahmanan (I know it is fictional, unlike Ramayana and Mahabharatha). He goes against his parents (again conflicting with pithru dharma).
It appears preyas to others. Is his case similar to Bharatha?

If he were to choose preyas and his father's business AND not the Swadharma + Shreyas combination, then, his will be a life full of conflict!<<<

(Re)

I am not seeing the 2nd episode of Enge Brahmana. The few episodes that I saw did not convince me that the episode is doing justice to some concepts.

From what you say I guess the storyline and reply as follows:

Ashrama dharma is fore most.
Pithru karya is the foremost cause for embracing grahstha ashrama dharma.
Arjuna’s ultimate concern for not wanting to go on war was on the prospect of loss of ‘pindoka – kriya’ when more and more would be killed in war.

When his parents have no other issues, it is the duty of the only child to see that the lineage is taken further. On no occasion, one can become the cause of breaking the lineage. A pura nanuru verse on Pal yaaga shaalai Mudukudumi Peru vazhuthi who ruled the sunken Kuamri with his Capital near river Pahruli, lists down those who must not be touched or killed in a war (a dharmic war). Among the well known entities such as cows, women, children, Brahmins etc, it mentions that the persons who have not yet got sons to do pithru karma must be spared. By killing them, the killer breaks the lineage of those persons and that attracts worst karma for the killer.

Even Rishis have not violated this duty to the lineage. This is enshrined in the dictum told by Krishna when he says that creation must be taken further on and on.

Let the one who is on the path of siddhi, finish his duty to lineage and take up sanyasa.
Renouncement has some meaning only then.

Here the conflict is there between preyas of Ashok (wishing to be sanyasi – I don’t know if this is what is projected in the episode as I am not seeing it) and the shreyas of the family. The actual shreyas of the family is to continue the thread of lineage.

****

>>>What are the astrological indicators that a person can or will choose shreyas/preyas - or one can expect harmony in family relations - so that one does swadharma + shreyas and is not doing preyas in short or long term? <<

(Re)

A difficult question. It can be analysed only on case by case basis.
But Jupiter and its position indicates how one adheres by Dharma in a given situation.
A retro Jupiter in friendly, own and exalted houses will show one crossing the norms of shreyas. Jupiter rendered useless in the 12th will make the person be a helpless watcher of Dharma getting strained in front of his eyes. But these are all general statements. We have to see by other features of the horoscope.

Vasundhara said...

Thank you Mami for your detailed reply.

I think in that serial Ashok wants to learn and teach Vedas, whereas his parents feel it is a dead profession. From one episode that I saw (correct me if I am wrong), he hasn't taken sanyas. It is his Swadharma to get into Vedic lifestyle. His parents, just like many in ours and previous generation feel that Vedic lifestyle will not serve any purpose in the modern world.

Following the Vedic lifestyle of doing the pancha yagnas, learning and teaching vedas etc is what is swadharma, ashrama dharma as well as shreyas in case of Ashok (let us assume he is married). But, he is still earning lot of ill-will from his own parents for being like this. Now pls tell me what is the best in his situation - this is the dilemma of our generation - Ashok may be an extreme case, but well it exists in different proportions! :)

jayasree said...

Ms Vasundhara,
As you said Ashok's is an extreme case. He is a writer's creation. Let the writer decide what to do with him.

In reality, persons of such mentality had existed in olden days where there didn't exist a clash of values between parents and wards.

Today's situation is different. If you have any specific question in mind of the present day dilemma, please feel free to ask. I will try to explain to the best of my ability.

jayasree said...

I dont know how the Enge Brahmnan series part-2 ended. But it would do justice to the role of Ashok alias Vasishta to marry the incarnation of Arundhathi.

Vasishta is remembered for ever for Arundhathi connection. She never leaves Vasishta. She always tows behind Vasishta. If Vasishata is born she will also be born and will marry him in due course. That is how the story must be shaped. It does not do justice to the character of Vasishta to live long and remain unmarried, leaving Arudhathi alone in deva loka.