The Satsang on October 3rd started off with Mahamnatra Kirtan led by Dr. Sriramji of Redding, CA. After the 10 minutes of Nama Kirtan, we had a round of introductions. This was followed by a satsang tallk by Sri Narayanan of Boston. The following is the gist of the speech:
The Vedas are verily the voice of the Lord. When the Lord speaks to us, He does not speak directly. Instead He speaks in the form of the Vedas. The Vedas have a variety of messages to us, right from instructions for basic living, all the way to the Supreme Truth. Sri Sri Swamiji would say, ‘If one follows the Path shown by the Vedas to lead his life, he is a ‘Nara’ (a human), failing which, he is only a ‘Vaanara’ (monkey).
The Vedas are ‘anantha’ (limitless). The beauty of the Sanathana Dharma is that we do not have one specific text as the religious text. The entire gamut of the Vedas are considered to be the religious text of our Dharma.
How can the Scriptures be categorized? One way of categorizing the scriptures is as follows:
‘Samhita’ means a piece of literature.
What does a king do? A king lays down some instructions for the citizens to follow. It is the duty of the citizens to abide by the rules and regulations laid out by the king. The citizens are bound in subservience to the king. Similarly, there is a category of our scriptures which lays down instructions. These are the ‘Sruthis’ and the ‘Smrithis’. ‘Satyam Vada’, ‘Dharmam Chara’… ‘Matru Devo Bhava’, ‘Pitru Devo Bhava’ — these are all ‘Samanya Dharmas’ (common Dharmas) that everyone who adheres to Sanathana Dharma ought to follow. There is no reprieve.
In addition, it prescribes ‘Smartha Karmas’ like ‘Perform Sandhyavandhanam 3 times a day’, ‘Perform Pitru Karyam every year’, ‘Give oblations to your ancestors every such and such day of the month’ and so on.
The ‘Raja Samhita’ portion of the Scriptures order us to do.
There are another class of scriptures which are called as ‘Suhrut Samhita’. ‘Suhrut’ means a friend or a well-wisher. These scriptures advice, not order, as a friend would.
The Vedas don’t talk about the fruits directly.
For example, a king orders you to pay taxes. You only see it as a stress/burden. You don’t see it as a means to generate revenue which will go into welfare of the public (like good roads, good transport, more tanks and ponds to store water and so on). In fact you are not even expected to see it that way. [You don’t need to understand how the tax from the citizens gets transformed to facilities for them]
When a well-wisher advises us, he speaks from his experience, for the good of us. ‘Hey don’t drink alcohol. You know what happened? My uncle was an alcoholic. And he suffered so many problems. And his life doomed so and so.. etc.’ ‘I know of the Father of my Nation.. who spoke only the truth and by the very virtue of truth he won over so many hearts.’ to mundane things like ‘Invest in these shares. In the way the market is going, they are going to yield the best dividends.’ ‘Go to this amusement park. You will find a lot of entertainment. There is so much of fun for your kids. You can spend your day well’ and so on.
The Itihasas and Puranas form the ‘Suhrut Samhita’. They advice us, for our well-being, in amicable terms.
We read Ajamila Charitra from Bhagavatam about how a person from an orthodox Brahmin family fell into evil hands because of social misbehavior. We listen to Sri Rama’s truthfulness from Ramayan. When we recite Vishnu Sahasranamam from Mahabharatam for health reasons or Adi Shankara’s Kanakadhara Stotram for wealth, these scriptures indeed advice us. We will certainly get the benefits, and yes, the same benefits that can be got by doing what the ‘Raja Samhita’ says, because these are all conforming to the Sruti and Smritis.
An interesting comparison here…
A king orders us to pay taxes. We only see it as a stress/burden. We don’t see it as a means to generate revenue which will go into welfare of the public (like good roads, good transport, more tanks and ponds to store water and so on). In fact you are not even expected to see it that way. [You don’t need to understand how the tax from the citizens gets transformed to facilities for them]
Similarly, in the case of the ‘Raja Samhita’, one just does. We need not understand why we do so, how does that benefit us, and so on. Do it without asking questions. That is the rule of the game. Results will follow and you will get the greatest benefit [which is the Veda-anta or the Jnana in due course]
Whereas, in the case of a friend’s advice, as it comes from experience, you can empathize with it. You have an option to adhere to their advice or reject it. You can take the advice, ask questions, reason out for yourselves. So ‘Suhrut Samhita’ may be best suited for those so-called ‘rational’ people who need a logical reasoning behind every act.
But what are we ‘Adhikaris’ for? We are in a state, where we don’t wish to follow any rules laid down by the king. We are so adamant that we don’t want to heed to any friend’s advice, however good the friend might be.
So what is the way out?
Luckily for us, there is a third category of the Scriptures which is called ‘Kaantha Samhita’ – a ‘Kaantha’ refers to the beloved. It is like the words of the lover to the beloved.
When a husband says something to the wife, he says it out of true love. Anything that the husband asks the wife to do is only out of pure love. Does he protect his spouse only in return for her following his words? No! The moment he takes her hand in marriage, the husband vows to protect the wife, no matter what. She may be learned or illiterate; smart or stupid, beautiful or ugly, wise or foolish, skilled or unskilled. Irrespective of the qualifications of the wife, he protects her.
Unlike the relationship with the king (which is of subservience) or with the well-wisher (which is of friendship), the relationship that a lover has to the beloved is one of ‘prema’ (pure love).
When it comes to the Vedas, sometimes this refers to the poems and dramas (‘kaavya’) in our literature, which brims with emotions. But that is not what it is truly meant to be. The true ‘Kaantha Samhita’ is nothing but the words of a Sadguru.
Irrespective of the qualities of the devotee, the Sadguru protects him and gives him the Supreme Good – exactly what could be offered by sincerely following all the injunctions of the Srutis / Smritis or the pointers shown by the Itihasas / Puranas.
The relationship between a Guru and the disciple is one of true love. Then what is the disciple expected to do in return? Be faithful and show gratitude! That is by adhering to the words of the Guru and serving Him.
The beauty here is that it is rare to find a true ‘Kaantha Samhita’.
In that aspect, all of us here are extremely lucky. Not only because we have a rare and precious jewel, the Guru, but because He has kept us in a position where we can be faithful to Him and show our gratitude. How?
His instructions are simple! Chant the Divine Name!
He says, ‘The best service you can do to me is chant the Names and spread it to one and all’.
And we are trying to do just that!
We can now rest assured that we can rightfully be called ‘Naraas’ and above all, we are assured of the Supreme.
This was followed by a series of announcements. Poornimaji’s earlier week’s programs in Chicago were summarized and the programs in the subsequent week at Seattle were also outlined.
Sri Sankaranarayanan from St. Louis who was visiting his children in the US said he was happy to join the satsang. Sri Narayanaswamyji of Seattle suggested that we maintain an online address book of contact-addresses and phone numbers of devotees in the US as a quick reference.
All of us wished Sri Narayanaswamyji on his 60th birthday that fell on that very day and we performed the closing Nama Kirtan with prayers for happiness and long life of Sri Narayanaswamyji and his family.