The Nama kirtan was lead by Bhoomaji from Dallas, TX. Followed by brief round of introductions, Ramaniji from Los Angeles talked about the basics of Sanatana Dharma, which were excerpts from ‘Deivathin Kural’.
Deivathin Kural is a series of lectures and interviews given by the Kanchi saint Sri.Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal. He is fondly called as MahaPerivaa.
If you see a house, one can quickly say that this house was built by a civil engineer. If you see a car, we can without any hesitation say that it was manufactured by some expert. A house or a car has been built for a specific purport. It cannot be said that it was here on its own or it came here by accident. Can we? No certainly not. It is very clear that there is intelligence involved behind all these creation. It is only right to say that there is a person behind all these intelligence. We see innumerable animate and inanimate objects in this universe. Though there are so many of them, they all behave in an orderly fashion as though they are bound to something or somebody. Acharya says that if there is an order then there must be some control and it is imperative that control cannot take place without a person. We so many different things not related to each other yet bind with each other to give us a specific output.
When we delve into this thought one can very easily conclude that there is an absolute supreme that has created all these for a reason. As mentioned earlier it is very easy to find the builder of the house or a car but on the other hand it is not possible to locate the person who created the tree. We wonder with awe as to what tools that person must have used to create a tree. Likewise it also baffles us to think about the person who created the mountains, stars and moon etc. One may argue that these were created too long ago to investigate the person behind their creation.
Well, then let’s take another classic example, a freshly blossomed rose. It is not as old as mountains, star and moon either. It has too many intricate petals. It just blossomed right before our eyes and yet we cannot find the person behind this splendid creation. Can we? We think that we are the intelligent species in this world and we fail to realize how ignorant we are. Acharya paraphrases it in a very amusing way. He says that we are akin to a wild buffalo that entered the city accidentally. The buffalo will be confused and scared and so are we on this earth. There is someone more intelligent than us who has kept us this way. The flowers are bound to a rule and it is case for all the celestial objects including earth. There is a person behind all these creation and keep them bound them in order.
Mankind should strive to perceive and know the person behind all these creation. The reason to know this person as Acharya mentioned is that he is not only intelligent but compassionate enough to keep everything in orderly fashion. Acharya calls this person as GOD.
A thief leaves some evidence in a crime scene. He calls God as thief who has left an impression all over the universe. The purport of this is to find him, know him and understand him. Even our intelligence is a classic example of his impression. There cannot be a better example to substantiate that there is a Creator in this universe.
Achraya questions if we can draw lines that are akin to the ones in our hands. Even though we admire man made creation and call them wonders of the world, yet can we draw the drawings close enough to the veins of a single leaf? Acharya re-iterates the impressions of this thief who is also known as god. A thief is one who concedes his identity and so does god. God lives inside a cave and that cave is our heart. He hides himself inside us and yet created all these wonderful creation on this earth. By wondering, he makes us search for him and that search is called Bhakti.
Following this, Narayananji from Boston talked about Srimad Bhagavata Purana.
We all know that Bhagavatha Purana is the one of the greatest Purnanas and it is the Satvik of all puranas. The puranas are eighteen in total. They are classified into three types namely the Rajasika, Tamasika and Satvika. Srimad Bhagavatam is the eighteenth purana and it is a beautiful blend of Bhakti and Vedanta. It is a very relevant purana in this age. Just as one would tend to read the first few and last lines of a letter or a telegram, if we take the first few verses of Srimad Bhagavatam it begins by meditating on the supreme who is the universal god and at the end it talks about ‘Sharanagati’ (surrender). The path prescribed for surrender is verily the chanting of the Divine Names of the Lord.
“nama sankirtanam yasya sarva papa pranashanam
Pranamo dukha samanaha tam namami harim param”
The middle portion of Srimad Bhagavatam – sixth canto – talks about Ajamila Charithra. Srimad Bhagavatam talks about ten different lakshanas. One of the lakshana is the description of the universe. The fifth canto talks about the various concepts of astronomy, and it also expounds on twenty different hells. There are descriptions of all the hells and the specific sins associated with every one of them. The twenty sixth chapter of fifth canto briefly talks about all these infernal regions. .
King Parikshit who listens to all this intently, is worried. He says, the description of these entire abysses is so very gory and is frightening and asks if there are any atonement for all these sins? While there were atonements for the sins, people tend to commit more sins knowing that there is way out! But one needs to understand the root-cause that urges people to commit a sin.
Let’s ponder on this by looking at an example. A person speaks falsehood. Assume that there is a panacea for this. Let us say that the remedy for speaking falsehood is to donate a few dollars within a period of time, or else the person’s tongue will be cut. So the person tends to commit falsehood and tries to repair his wrong-doing by doing the stipulated donation.
But Sage Sukha says that the true way to come out of these sins is to cleanse one’s heart of these bad qualities that reside deep within the heart. Sage Sukha beautifully explains this with an example – “Manye Kunjara sauchavat”. An elephant likes to play in sand. The mahout scrubs the elephant and gives him a good bath. After the bath, he dries him and lets him wander while the Mahoop takes a quick shower. The elephant wanders it quickly puts sand all over its body. The same thing happens in our case too. Atonements are not a permanent means to cleanse the sins. It is only means to a vicious cycle. The more one gets involved in this worldly life, the more does the sins get firmly imprinted in our heart. What has to be done is, to cleanse the root cause of the sins by making the mind pure. At this point, Sage Sukha narrates the story of Ajamila.
Ajamila was born in a very orthodox and religious family. Good qualities that one possesses are not necessarily by birth. It comes through the society as well. Although Ajamila was born in a very pious family his mind got corrupted because of the influence of the society and he took to bad ways. The ‘sanga’ (company) in which one belongs will have a great influence. To underline this fact, Sage Sukha introduces Ajamila as a ‘dasipati’ (womanizer).
It is required to be in the company of Sadhus. Sadhus are the ones who are in divine communion with the lord and are always chanting the Divine names of the Lord. Ajamila committed a small sin and that sin lead him to do more and more sins. He gave his heart for lust and that had a lot of repercussions.
Sage Sukha talks about how Ajamila named his last son as Narayana and during his last moments of his life, he chanted ‘Narayana Nama’ and was immediately cleansed. He didn’t chant the Narayana Nama thinking of the lord Narayana. He just called his son and the Lord came to his rescue and reached the divine feet of the Lord.
It is said that even if one chants the divine names of the lord by mistake, it reaps lots of goodwill.
The satsang ended with prayers with Nama Kirtan.