Brihaspati is the Guru of the gods and Sukaracharya is the Guru of the demons. Brihaspati’s and Sukaracharya’s disciples often used to fight. At that time Sukaracharya had a special power that Brihaspati did not have. Sukaracharya knew a particular mantra that could bring his soldiers back to life after they had been killed on the battlefield. The cosmic gods felt miserable that Brihaspati did not have that capacity. In other ways — in wisdom, compassion, forgiveness and other good qualities — Brihaspati was far superior to Sukaracharya. In wisdom-light he was superior to everybody. But in this one thing Sukaracharya surpassed him.
So the gods said to Brihaspati, “Your son Coch is so brilliant. Can he not go and learn that mantra from Sukaracharya? He can become Sukaracharya’s student and please him in every way. Then Sukaracharya will teach him the mantra.”
The gods were very tricky. They didn’t tell Coch the real reason they were sending him to Sukaracharya. They said they were sending him there to become a devoted student and to learn how to use weapons and other things. Coch was an innocent fellow and he had no idea of what the gods had in mind. So he went to Sukaracharya and asked to become his student. In those days, even if someone was your enemy, if you went to him as a student that person would still teach you. Sukaracharya had an especially big heart. So he said to Coch, “Yes, I will accept you as my student.”
In time, Coch became the favourite student of Sukaracharya. The other disciples of Sukaracharya became very jealous because their Master was paying so much attention to the son of their enemy. They also saw that Sukaracharya’s daughter, Debajani, had a tremendous fondness for Coch. The two were the same age and Sukaracharya’s disciples felt that she was hoping to marry Coch when they grew up.
Sukaracharya knew about his daughter’s love for Coch and he didn’t have any objection to their marriage. He said, “With all my heart I love my daughter and this boy I also love so much. He is such a nice boy.” Sukaracharya was just waiting for the day when they would be old enough to get married.
One of Coch’s main jobs was to take the cattle out to graze every morning. One day while Coch was with the cattle, the disciples of Sukaracharya killed him. When the young boy did not come back in the evening, Debajani became worried and went looking for him. She found him lying in the field and ran back home crying to her father. Sukaracharya went to where the boy was lying and uttered his special mantra in silence. Immediately the boy was revived.
Sukaracharya and his daughter were so happy, but the jealous disciples who had killed Coch felt very sad and miserable. Now what could they do? Once more they tried to kill him. This time, while he was in the field, they grabbed him and set fire to him, so that he was burned to ashes. Then they made a special drink and put his ashes into it. They brought the drink to Sukaracharya and said, “We have made a very special drink for you. Will you not have a taste of it?”
Sukaracharya said, “Fine. I will have a taste of it.” When he drank it, he felt a little bit uneasy. Then his daughter came running up and cried, “What have you done? I have just heard that your disciples put the ashes of Coch into a special drink. Now you have drunk it and he is totally gone! You will not be able to revive him.”
Sukaracharya said, “It is true. If I revive him, he will have to come out of me and then I will die. So either you have to accept the fact that he is dead, or if I revive him and bring him out of my body, then you will lose me. What shall we do?”
The daughter began crying uncontrollably. Sukaracharya said, “All right, I am an old man. I have enjoyed life and I have done many things, good and bad. What is the use of staying on earth any longer? Now is the time for me to retire. All of you leave me here. Secretly I will chant my special mantra. Then, since a portion of Coch still exists inside my body, I am sure he will be revived and come out of me and I will die.”
Sukaracharya chanted the mantra in silence and immediately Coch was revived. As soon as Coch came out of his Master’s body, Sukaracharya died.
It happened that when he had been inside Sukaracharya, Coch had heard him chant the mantra inwardly — although Sukaracharya never chanted it out loud. In this way Coch learned the secret mantra. As soon as Coch was revived, out of his sincere gratitude he immediately touched his Master’s feet and said, “Master, you have saved me.” Then he used the same mantra to revive his Master. Sukaracharya immediately blessed Coch and said to him, “You have learned the mantra from me, and now you have saved me with it.”
Coch said, “Previously when you revived me, I did not learn it. Only when you were using the mantra in silence and I was inside you did I learn it.”
So both Sukaracharya and Coch were alive and they were all so happy. Then a sadness dawned on Debajani. Because Coch had come out of her father, he was now her brother, and they could not get married. But at least she had got back her father.
So everything started with love. If the daughter had not loved Coch, then these things would not have happened, for the disciples of Sukaracharya would not have been so jealous. Then Coch showed his magnanimity when he revived his father’s enemy, Sukaracharya. But, in his willingness to sacrifice his own life for Coch, Sukaracharya was the one who really showed his heart’s nobility and generosity, like a real Master.
Here the actual winners were the cosmic gods. Now both Sukaracharya and Coch had the power to revive the dead. From that time on the demon-disciples of Sukaracharya could not defeat the gods because both parties knew how to revive their dead soldiers.
The cosmic gods justified their sending Coch to learn the mantra by saying, “As long as we got the badge of Immortality, even if by hook or by crook, then we did the right thing. Now our two sides are equally strong. This is the only way we will stop fighting.”
When Sukaracharya’s disciples came to know that the cosmic gods also had the same power, they didn’t want to fight any more since now both parties were equally strong. This is how the fighting between the gods and the demons came to an end.