PRAJAPATI, who is also known as Brahma, The Creator, made three kinds of beings: gods (devas), people (manavas) and the demons or anti-gods (asuras). But none of the three beings were happy with what they had. The asuras were violent and evil. They reveled in destruction, and became enormously rich due to their conquering nature. They did not have any peace of mind and decided to approach Prajapati to give them peace of mind.
The manavas, too, were unhappy. They were a house divided, constantly fighting amongst themselves. They were clever with their hands and made things; they were also very jealous of those who had more than them. They decided to visit Prajapati so they could learn to be happy.
The devas were, of course, living in clover, for they were the rulers of the heavens. They had rich clothes, jewellery and the company of voluptuous nymphs. But for all their luxury, they remained discontented. And so they too made up their minds to visit Prajapati to know how they could cultivate happiness.
One day, when Prajapati was resting, the three races came to stand beside him. Their noisy arrival disturbed him and he opened his eyes. The three beings said, ‘O great Prajapati, we come to you to know how to be happy.’ The great god said only one word but it was so loud it shook the heavens: DA! Then he closed his eyes and relapsed into silence.
The three races returned to their respective abodes to ponder over this. The devas concluded that DA must stand for damyata, which means ‘self control’. And they decided to live simply and avoid all luxury for evermore. The manavs decoded DA as referring to datta, which means ‘to give’. Their leaders decided to be more tolerant and giving, and to co-exist peacefully with other creatures. The asuras decided that DA stood for dayadhvam, which means ‘be merciful’. The wisest among them said they must show mercy to those who fall into their hands.
This was Prajapati’s lesson; but it is hard to follow and the three races often forget it, bringing misery upon themselves. That is why the thunder rumbles at times – DA! DA! DA!- to remind them of Prajapati’s lesson.