The Satsang on the evening of the Indian Independence day went great with about 26 people on the call.
All of us love to go to temples and have had it as a daily or weekly routine at some point in their life. Blessed are those who continue that practice. Many of us don’t get enough time to dedicate for a temple visit during the week due to various other commitments. Where Nama is chanted the sanctity grows. A temple is a place of sanctity. So our Friday evening satsang verily becomes our prayer-time. Does it matter if we still miss out on a temple visit due to other obligations? Not really! As long as we dial into our regular Friday evening satsangs!
With that note, we started off a prayer-session with Mahamantra for the first ten minutes. Sriram and his family led the Nama session for the week. After a 10 minute Nama Chanting and special prayers, we went through a round of introduction. It was nice to hear more devotees participate from New York and the Bay area.
After preliminary introductions, Jagan from Chicago gave a nice talk on the greatness of Nama Sankirtan. In the 20 minute long discourse, he delved in detail on how the Nama Kirtan was stressed in Srimad Bhagavatam.
“Kali Kalochittam dharmam Nama sankirtanatmakam…” went the prayers to the Master, in the beginning of the talk. A gist of the talk is given below:
Bhagavatam ends with a sloka says that Nama Sankirtan cleanses of all our papas and takes us to the highest state. Singing and praising the Lord without any hesitation, slowly our hearts get purified and we attain a state where he starts dancing, and gets truly excited about his stories – to the world he might be a madman, but he enjoys bliss. He sees homogeneity in the cosmos. He realizes the True Self (Paramatma). Food satiates one’s hunger, pleases his tastebuds as well as gives energy. In the same way, chanting the Nama gives Bhakti (Devotion), dispassion and God Realization.
A perfect Bhagavata (Bhagavatottama) is one who sees the Lord everywhere. He distinguishes not that the Lord is present in the temple and not in another place. The heart becomes the temple. He sees equanimity everywhere and in everything. Eventually, by virtue of his pure and devoted heart, the Lord resides in his heart eternally and He manifests himself to the Bhagavata.
Nammazhwar was such a Bhagavatottama who resided in a small hole in the tamarind tree. All the deities from the 108 divya desams gave darshan to Nammazhwar right in the tamarind tree hole.
So Nama Sankirtan is the Dharma, especially in Kali Yuga, just like dhyana was the Dharma in the Kritha Yuga, Yagna in Tretha and Archana in Dwapara. There are no chances for mistakes, for there are no rules. So even the outcast can attain the same supreme state as anyone else through Nama Kirtan. Because this is an easy way to the Ultimate the great souls long to be born to Kali Yuga, whereas in other Yugas, it is extremely difficult (like Kardhama Prajapathi’s tapas).
Gandhiji was a standing example to show that Rama Nama Kirtan was the way out.The independence we enjoy is thanks to the Hari Nama Kirtan!
Let me end with a prayer to the Almighty that all of us get the opportunity to chant Hari Nama for ever.
Srimad Bhagavatam Idam bhAgavatam nAma purANam brahma samhitam |
(…such is the Purana by name Bhagavatam, a text which is verily the essence of all the Vedas…)
Mahans have interpreted it as:
|dam bhAgavatam nAma purANam brahma samhitam |
(…such is Bhagavatam, which is verily a Purana of Nama, and also the essence of all the Vedas…)
Quoting Bhagavatam extensively, Jagan had indeed proved this, and given us the essence of Bhagavatam – Nama!
Any sloka that we chant, read or recite gives a result. This is called ‘Phalasruti’. Having heard the greatness of Bhagavatam, it was time to listen to the results. Aravind from Florida came forward to talk about his experience with Nama.
It was indeed a very moving experience – to write it in his own words:
‘When I was young, I could not pronounce the word ‘Ra’ very well. I would pronounce it as ‘Tha’ instead. This became a serious problem and I started feeling low in front of others for my inability. My mother encouraged me and asked me to chant the Rama Nama constantly. But do you see the paradox? Rama Nama itself has ‘Ra’! and that was where my problem was! Mom told me not to worry about it, and chant as was possible by me. I continued to chant the Rama Nama regularly, but as ‘thaama’! and It was indeed a miracle that in due course I was able to pronounce Rama!
Even when I could not pronounce Rama correctly, the Lord out of His sheer compassion answered my prayers. I am sure that it is that Rama Nama that gave me darshan of great Avatara Purushas like Maha Swamiji of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal, Bhagavan Yogiramsuratkumar and now, our Swamiji.’
It was well beyond our time limits when we had reached this point. However no one felt that we were running late. We only wanted more!
On a quick announcement session, it was announced that like last year, we would have Swamiji’s disciples from India visiting us during this Fall!
We closed our satsang with prayers with Mahamantra Kirtan for about 5 minutes.