Oct 10: Bharata Pradakshina

10 Oct

The Friday tele-satsang on 10th October started with Nama Kirtan led by Ms. Chandra Balakrishnan. When the Nama Kirtan ended in 10 minutes, it was time for introductions.

All of us introduced ourselves. There were more than 30 devotees on the call. Then it was time for Satsangam. Sri Aravind of Orlando Florida gave a beautiful Satsang.

Someone asked our Swamiji, when there are so many countries in the world, why do so many Mahans take birth in India alone. Sri Swamiji replied that if you consider the whole world as a house, then the Bharata Bhoomi is like the Puja room. The Lord resides there. No wonder great Saints and Jnaanis are born here. All the saints have shown the path of Bhakti and Nama Kirtanam. While a home can have a puja room, the Prasad that is received from the Puja room can be consumed any where. Can’t it? The BhagavanNama is such a prasadam. It can be chanted anywhere without any constraints of time place or person.
I hail from the southern part of India. When someone asks who is my Guru, I say that He is Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. Where does He hail from? South India. Oh! ‘That is the reason’, people think. But the message being carried by my Guru is indeed the message being echoed across the country.
When my brothers do Nama Prachara in Hyderabad, they talk about the Bharata Pradakshina. This is essentially a tour of India to see how the Mahans in different parts of the country echo the same message of Nama.

Let us, in the next few minutes, try to do a Bharata Pradakshina, to see what the Mahans from different parts of the country have taught:

Let me start with Tamil Nadu, my home town:

Tirumangai Azhwar is one of the great Azhwars. (the saints who were totally immersed in Bhakti). He has sung:
“Kulam tharum, selvam thandidum, adiyãr paduthuyar ãyinavellãm
Nilantharam seiyyum, neellvisumbarullum, arulodu perunilam allikkum
Valantharum matrum thandidum pertra thãyinum ãyina seyyum
Nalam tharum sollai nãn kandukonden ‘Nãrãyana’ enum Nãmam!’
What will you get by chanting the Lord’s Name (Nãmam) ? ALL!
You will be blessed with everything.
The Lord’s Name will bestow you with good family, wealth; solve all your
problems, take you to great heights, bestow you with heaven and confer on
you all other good things. It will take care of you more than a mother.
*’Nalam tharum’ – You will be blessed with only what is good for you. *
‘Nalam tharum sollai nãn kandukonden Nãrãyana enum Nãmam’- I have realized
the word that will bestow me auspiciousness and that is the Nãma (The Lord’s
Name)!”

Then let us move on to Kerala.
Poondhanam was a great devotee of Lord Guruvayurappa. He used to write in Malayalam and there have been incidents where the Lord upheld his works, even when they were ridiculed by the ‘so called’ erudite scholars who wrote in Deva-Bhasha – Sanskrit.
Sri Poonthanam’s Jnanapana (Song of Wisdom) in Malayalam reads….
Guru Nathan thuna cheiga sanththam,Thiru namangal navin mel eppozhum,Piriyathe irikkanam nammude,Nara janmam saphala makkeduvan.
Request I, for the grace from my Guru without fail,
So that Lord’s holy names are always on my tongue,And continue to be there forever without change,So that this our, human birth becomes most fruitful.

Let us move on to the neighboring state – Karnataka:
You know who I am going to talk about – Saint Purandaradasa – the Pitamah of Carnatic Music, who composed more than 4.75 lakh kirtans. Born in a wealthy family, he renounced the world for the sake of the Lord and chanted His Divine Names all through his life. His kirtans brim with the glory of the Nama.

Then moving on to the neighboring state of Maharashtra. This can be called the Puja room inside Pooja rooms! There have been so many Mahans – Pandarpur Bhaktas from this state. Let us take Sage Gnaneswar.
Thriguna asara nirguna he(m) sara l Sarasara vichara HARIPATA ll
Saguna nirguna gunache(m) aguna l Hariveena mana vyartha jaya ll
Avyaktha nirakara nahee(m) thya akara l Jethoni charachara Harisee bhaje ll
Gnanadeva dhyanee(m) Ramakrishna manee(m) l Anantha janmonee punya hoya ll
Mavuli Gnaneshwar Maharaj says, “That (means the world) which is made-up of
three attributes (Sathva, Raja & Thamaas) which is known as Saguna is
sapless. That (means Brahman, the Absolute) which has no attribute and
called Nirguna is the sum and substance. This HARIPATA analyzes both of
them. To know the nature of saguna and nirguna, one need to know Hari, the
pure (aguna). Any knowledge not pertaining to Him is a waste. His form is
not an unmanifested blank, but the whole universe. Let us chant Hari’s name.
As the fruit of the good deeds done in the previous births, now I am able to
meditate on the name ‘Ramakrishna’.
Vedasasthra pramana sruthichem vachana l Eka Narayana sara japa ll
Japa thapa karma Hariveena dharma l Vavukachi srama vyaththa jaya ll
HARIPATee(m) kele the nivanthachee tele l Bhramara gunthale sumana kalike ll
Gnanadevee(m) manthra Harinamache(m) sasthra l Yamakula gothra varjiyele(m)
ll
Mavuli Gnaneshwar Maharaj says, “Recite Narayana’s name. It is the gist of
the injunctions of Vedas and the scriptures connected with it. The efforts
of any mantra’s Japa (recitation), thapas (penance), rituals and other
dharmas go waste, if done without invoking Hari’ name. Those who repeat
HARIPATA get arrested in it as a bee inside a flower (the bee entering into
the lotus to savor the nectar stays inside and gets arrested when the petels
close in the evening). Yama (the god of death) and his retinue avoid the
clan of those holding the weapon of Harinama manthra”, which is Gyandeva’s
mantra too!

Then we go to the state of Gujarat, where the saint Narasimha Mehta is very popular:

In his “Vaishnav Janatho” song, he says…
Who is a Vaishnav?
He is ever engaged in the chanting of Rama’s name, and all pilgrimage
centres are in his body. He has no greed and no deceit. He has overcome lust
and anger.
Narsi says – Just seeing such a person sanctifies the entire family
lineage.
He is called a devout person, who worships the feet of Govinda. This is
called the essence of human existence.
Chant Krishna’s name again and again, with humility and devotion. Chanting
Krishna’s name leads to bliss.
To serve Krishna should be the undying desire! But foolish men do not know
this.
The name of Krishna is etched on the hearts of those who are enlightened and
are blessed by Him!
When sages and savants wander in forests, Vittal comes singing all the way.
Narsi says, “Those who remember Krishna daya and night are clever persons”

Going over to Rajasthan, we have Meera:
‘Govind Gav. Man Govinda Gav…ram krishna bhajvaano aavyo che daav’
’durlab nar dehi tame tatpar bhaav…bhavsaagar tarvaane besava ne naav’
O!mind, Sing the name of Govinda, Sing the name of Govinda | Sing the names of Ram and Krishna with love ||
This human birth is not easy to get and we are caught in this samsara of the mind. It is the boat for you to cross this ocean|| (Sing the name of Govinda) !

Moving over to Punjab / Haryana, where our brother-religion of Sikhism lays so much emphasis on Nama Kirtan:
Sri GuruNanak Dev’s Japji Sahib, which appears at start of Sri Guru Granth
Sahib says: Ek Onkar | Sat naam – One Universal Creator | The Name is truth
True Master, True is His Name – Meditate it with deep love. They(men) ask and beg,(God) “Give, give” – The Giver gives in abundance. What can we place before Him, by which the Darbaar can be seen? What words can we utter, listening to which His Love is gained? In the Ambrosial period, dwell upon His True Name and praises.

In Uttar Pradesh, we have the famous saint Kabir das who was also an illustrious Guru Bhakta. In spite of being born in an Islamic religion, his love for Ram Nam was unfathomable. He says:
Gur Dhobi Sikh Kapda, Saboo Sirjan Har
Surti Sila Pur Dhoiye, Nikse Jyoti Apaar
Guru the washer man, disciple is the cloth
The name of God liken to the soap
Wash the mind on foundation firm
To realize the glow of Truth
Jab Mein Tha Tab Hari Nahin, Jab Hari Hai Mein Nahin
Sab Andhiyara Mit Gaya, Jab Deepak Dekhya Mahin
When “I” was then Hari was not, Now Hari “is” and “I” am not
All the darkness (illusions) mitigated, When I saw the light (illumination)
within.

Then we go over to Gaya in Bihar. Here we see Sri Ramakrirshna Paramahamsa speaking on the compassion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:
Why & how to make everyone chant the holy name!
‘Worldly people will never listen to you if you ask them to renounce
everything and devote themselves whole-heartedly to God. Therefore Chaitanya
and Nitai, after some deliberation, made an arrangement to attract the
worldly. They would say to such persons, ‘Come, repeat the name of Hari, and
you shall have a delicious soup of magur fish and the embrace of a young
woman.’ Many people, attracted by the fish and the woman, would chant the
name of God. After tasting a little of the nectar of God’s hallowed name,
they would soon realize that the ‘fish soup’ really meant the tears they
shed for love of God, while the ‘young woman’ signified the earth. The
embrace of the woman meant rolling on the ground in the rapture of divine
love.
“Nitai would employ any means to make people repeat Hari’s name. Chaitanya
said: ‘The name of God has very great sanctity. It may not produce an
immediate result, but one day it must bear fruit. It is like a seed that has
been left on the cornice of a building. After many days the house crumbles,
and the seed falls on the earth, germinates, and at last bears fruit.’

Then in West Bengal, we have our own great Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who inspite of being a great scholar renounced everything and took to Nama. In the very first verse of his Shikshashtakam, he says,
Glory to the Sri Krishna Sankirtana, which cleanses the heart and extinguishes the fire of repeated birth and death. Sankirtana is that can save any person and give him realization. It spreads the rays of the coolness of moon. It is the essence of all knowledge and ever increases the great bliss, and enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.

Moving over to the north east, Nitai Maharaj (Nithyananda Prabhu) again glorifies the Divine Name.

Then we end with the state of Andhra Pradesh, where our very own Saint Bhadrachala Ramadas who fell in love with Ram Nam and has extolled the Ram Nam in all his kirtans.

Thus when we take a tour of India we see that it is the Divine Name of the Lord that has been advocated by everyone. And the same is being advocated by our Guru Maharaj too. All we need to do is just keep chanting His Names.

Indeed all of us were taken on a mental tour across our Homeland, relishing the words of these great Mahans.

Then Yaminiji gave a quick update on the programs they had with Poornimaji at Chicago and Iowa. Sri Sankarji gave an update of the forthcoming Bhakta Vijayam discourses in the Bay Area.
The telecom Bhagavatam classes were also announced.

The program ended with a Nama Kirtan led by Ms. Ramya of CA, with special prayers for Mrs. Ravi Kolli who was expected to deliver her baby during that time.

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