The telecom satsang began with Nama sankirtan which was led by Ranjaniji and Rajasekarji from Plainville, MA. Followed by a brief round of introductions, Ramyaji from Bay Area talked about Sri Bhagawan Nama Bodendra Swamigal.
“Bhagavan comes up with innumerable ideas to liberate the human beings and have these ideas of Bhagavan been really successful? We can emphatically say, “No!” Till date they have not been successful because Bhagavan’s creation (‘srishti’) is still taking place. Crores of people are still remaining ignorant. Innumerable kinds of birds, animals are still being born on this earth. Hence, Bhagavan’s ideas to take ashore the ‘human beings’ have not met with success till date.
It is said that there is an eternal struggle between the devotee and the Lord. The devotee always tries to run away from the Lord and the Lord is determined to take the devotee unto himself. He is never deterred by the act of human beings. It is the struggle between the ignorance of the devotee and the compassion of the Lord. And finally the lord wins. The compassion of the Lord is so much that , even if we chant His Name in mockery or as an insinuation, He grants us Moksha:
‘Sanketyam parihasyam va stopham helanam eva va. Vaikunta naama grahanam …’
goes the verse.
Finding his work unaccomplished through the Vedas, Bhagavan decided to incarnate Himself on earth. He, therefore, came down to the earth as Lord Rama. The message that Lord Rama tried to convey was not practical to lead in daily lives. In Krishna Avatar, he tried to show his prowess and the message he tried to convey about surrender was very subtle. Neither of the above acts of the lord fulfilled his wish and hence he decided that he will not come down to earth.
“Kalau Khalu bhavishyanti Narayana parayanah”
“Tamraparni nadhi yatra kritamala payasvini”
says the Bhagavatam.
In this Kali Yuga innumerable Sadhus will come down to the earth.
Well! How will these Sadhus who come down in this Kali Yuga be? They will not be in the garb of an ascetic (‘sanyasi’) who remains aloof and away from the people, instead will mingle freely with the worldly (‘samsariis’). None of the Azhwars, the Nayanmars, Pandaripura Bhaktas were Sanyasis. The Sadhus in this Kali Yuga will mingle with the simple folks, live amidst the worldly, cleanse their minds (‘chitta shuddhi’), transform them into a beautiful golden flower and throw them at the Feet of Bhagavan, even without their knowledge.
Reminiscing on the life-history of great saints to name a few Pattinathar, RamaLinga Vallalar, Sri Thyagaraja swamigal, Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra, Arunagiri Vallalar, the various Sants of Pandarpur, they have all sung the glories of the lord in the form of Kirtans and Abhangs. These great Saints have composed so many kirtans and Abhangs because they loved the Lord so much and they could see the lord everywhere. The essence of all these Kirtans and Abhangs convey the importance of Nama chanting and the significance of having Satsangs. But none of them substantiated the significance of Nama and hence the path of Nama Sankirtan was always debated and questioned by the vidwans. One great Saint, Sri Bhagawan Nama Bodendra Saraswati Swamigal incarnated in this earth to do Nama Siddhantha. He wrote eight texts elucidating the significance of Nama. He showed the prowess of Nama Sankirtan by showing various excerpts from Vedas, Puranas as proof and the Vidwans after reading these texts were totally dumb-founded and never debated about Nama Sankirtan again.
In this Kali Yuga, all the great saints who have incarnated in this holy ‘Bharata’ Desa have chiefly shown us one of the easiest paths to liberation – singing the Divine Names of God. The chief among them was the great saint from South India by the name Bhagavan Nama Bodendra Saraswati Swamigal.
A small summary of the life of Bodendra Swamigal is below.
Sri Bodendra Swamgal was born to Mohana Pandurangan and Suguna Devi with the blessings of the then Peetadhipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti mutt, Vishwadikendra Saraswati. With the blessings of the Acharya, at a very young age, Purushottaman (which was the ‘Purvashrama’ name of Bodendra Swamigal) was inducted into the service of the Mutt.
Once when Purushottaman and his friend Jnanasagaran undertook a trip to Varanasi to meet their guru, the latter passed away en route. When Purushottaman wanted to give up his life (to keep a promise that he made to his friend), his Acharya forbade him from doing so and initiated him into Sanyasa Ashrama and asked him to take Nama Sankirtan to the world.
Later Swamigal came to the South. He relinquished his position in the Mutt towards the divine cause of taking the Rama Nama to everyone. Among his ‘Siddantha granthas’, “Bhagavan Nama Rasodayam” was the most important, that spoke at length about the glory of Taraka Mantra. He initiated everyone who came to him with Rama Nama, irrespective of caste, creed or religion and purified them.
Once while camping in a village called Perambur in Tamil Nadu, Bodendra Swamigal was saddened by the fact that a little boy who was both deaf and dumb could neither chant or listen to the Rama Nama. However, no sooner did the little boy partook of the ‘uchichishta’ (remnants of food partaken by Swamiji) than he started singing and dancing the Rama Nama in bliss.
Sri Bodendra Swamigal is in a Jiva Samadhi at a place called Govindapuram next to Tiruvidaimarudur in Tamizh Nadu, on the banks of river Cauvery. It is said that Bodendra Swamigal lives there chanting the Rama Nama all 24 hours and round the year.
Today, anyone going to Sri Bodendra Saraswati Swamigal’s Samadhi Govindapuram with problems and sufferings in their heart and pray with Bhakti are ridden of their ills.
The above is only a short summary of the lecture. The detailed story of Sri Bodendra Swamigal can be read from Namadwaar:
The talk was followed by a brief account of how a devotee of Sri Swamiji who in his last breath was fortunate enough to chant the Mahamantra. This particular devotee was blessed to perform more than a hundred Bhagavata Saptahams. He had the practice of reciting Srimad Bhagavatam and Ramayanam regularly. When he came to know that a 108 akhanda Srimad Bhagavata Saptaham (continuous reading of Srimad Bhagavatam) is being performed at Premika Bhavanam under the auspices of Sri Swamiji in 2006, he enthusiastically participated. Since then he became an ardent devotee of Sri Swamiji and rarely missed any opportunity to perform Bhagavatam or Ramayana Parayana.
It is said that whatever one does in his entire life, what matters is whether he remembers the Lord in his last breath. It is indeed the Srimad Bhagavatam parayanam and the grace of the Guru that gave such a fortune to this devotee.
The satsang ended with Mahamantra Kirtan prayers.