The enigmatic power of Maya that holds sway over the entire universe is not to be transcended easily. Even those steeped in penance can easily slip and fall into this trap of worldly glitter and the story of Sage Saubhari found in the Puranas captures this truth most efectively, said Sri Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse.
Through his austere life of penance, Saubhari had gained yogic powers. Realising that association with the senses and the sense objects is the cause of bondage, he tried to insulate himself from these by training himself to do penance in the deep waters.
After a long period of penance in this manner, when he decided to come out, he was attracted by the joyous life of a fish couple. At that moment he thought he had missed out on a life of domestic bliss and decided to get married. Through his yogic powers, he took the form of handsome youth, and married the fifty daughters of King Mandata.
It is said that he created a fabulous dwelling place for all of them, and lived with each one of them for many years with
children, grandchildren and so on.Then one day, in a flash, he saw that this life is an endless bondage which is sustained by the tremendous power of human desire. Was it not desire that had broken his penance of long years when he had succumbed to it so easily? He comes out of this illusion and goes back to his penance.
As long as one gives in to desire, there is no hope for redemption from samsara. This is the greatest challenge, whatever life one opts for, be it that of a householder or an ascetic; or whatever one studies, the sastras or spiritual texts; or whatever yogic
practices one does.