Nama Sankirtan was performed by Sri Nagarajan’s family and Sri Thiagarajan’s family from Dallas.
Narayananji from Boston talked about the significance of Satsang.
We all know that there are twelve cantos in Srimad Bhagavatam. The sixth canto talks about the glories of Divine Names of the Lord. But then we look at the Purana Lakshana (the characteristics of a Purana), the sixth canto talks about Poshana. Poshana refers to the compassion and mercy of the Lord. No matter how wicked, cruel, or ignorant or dirty we are, the Lord is so compassionate that he takes all of us unto his Feet by some means or the other. That’s the definition of Poshana. The episode of Vritrasura who is an asura, shows the love for the lord by a demon.
Virtrasura was born so, because of the mistakes done when chanting the Vedas when praying to bestow him with a strong person who can kill Indra. Instead of praying for this, they started praying “Oh Lord! Please bestow me with a strong person who can be killed by Lord Indra”. As a result of the prayer, Vritrasura was born and was indeed a very strong person. As expected Lord Indra was not able to confront Vritrasura by himself. He went to a great sage who was called as Dadichi and requested for his back-bone. Sages who are compassion-personified gave away his back-bone and with that Indra made a weapon called “Vajrayuda” and with this weapon he went to accost Vrithrasura. One should note the Viveka (discrimination) and knowledge that Virdhrasura possessed. On seeing Indra, he just laughed and said, “Oh Indra, Do you think I am a coward and will run away? Oh! Not at all. There is the Almighty who is very compassionate and he knows how to take our lives. It is destined that you will kill me and it will happen that way”. But, he requested Indra to wait as he had to complete his morning prayers. It was not a long drawn pooja routine. He had just four Slokas which he recited every morning. However, he did not disclose his prayers. Prayers done with love are not normally boasted about.
The four slokas are as mentioned below –
“Aham hare tava padaika moola dasanu daso bhavitaasmi bruthya:
Manah smaretaasu pater gunaamste grneeta vak karma karotu kaaya: || (6.11.24)
Na naga prushtam nacha parameshtyam nasarvabhaumam narasadhipathyam
Nayogi sidhir apunarbhavam samanjasatva virahaiya kaankshe || (6:11:25)
Ajatha pakshad iva maataram kaaga: stanyam yata vatsadhara sudhartha: |
Priyam priyaeva vyushitam vishanna Manoravindaasksha didrukshate tvaam” || (6:11:25)
Oh my lord, Let me always be in your service. If I am not able to be in your service then please bless to be in the service of your greatest devotees. If I am not fortunate enough to be in the association of your greatest devotees, then let me be in the divine satsang of their devotees (dasanudasa). When I am in the service of all your devotees, then I offer my body, mind and thoughts unto you.
And then in his second sloka, he says, let me always be in contact with you. If you offer me anything that removes the contact with you, then I don’t need it even if it is the greatest heaven. In his third sloka, he says, “Oh Lord, Take me unto you akin to how a small bird is being taken care by its mother bird, a calf craving for the love of its mother-cow and a fiancee waiting to join her fiance.
His fourth sloka has a very deeper meaning. He knows that it is not easy to get the divine company of the Lord. So he says,
“Mamottama sloka janeshu sakyam samsara chakre bramtah smakarmabi: |
Tvan maayayaatmatmaja daara geheshu asakta chityasa na naatha bhooyaat”
He says,”Oh Lord I know that I am caught deep inside the ocean of Samsara from which it is not very easy to be absolved. If at all you are an epitome of compassion then may I request you to do one thing? Please put me amidst a group of devotees in a satsang.
Make me friends with those devotees who are in a satsang and that way everything will fall into place. That is the greatest compassion and path that you can show and that way I will be freed from this samsara as well.
So what is a satsang? It is a divine association with a Jivan Mukta and who is ever chanting the Divine Names of the Lord and is in the eternal bliss.
This was followed by introductions and Nishaji from Houston discoursed on the life-history of Sri. Purandaradasa.
India is a land of Mahans. Akin to how certain type of soil is conducive to grow specific plants for example, southern India’s staple crop is rice whereas the northern part of India is fertile to grow wheat. Similarly the soil of India grows Mahans. Right from the time of great sages like Vashishta, Vishwamitra, India has been a home to enlightened souls.
In the life-histories of Mahans, we see that some incident usually triggered the spitritual quest and they did not stop that quest till the end. If we take the life-history of Sadasiva Brahmendra, he went and asked his mother for food. She told him that it would take some time and he thought that what is the use of this house when one cannot get food when he is hungry. He left home at that instant of time. Hunger brought a great change in his life.
Another classic example is Sri Tulasidas. He went in search of his wife who was at her parent’s place. He encountered many hardships to reach his in-law’s place. Upon reaching, his wife tells him that the earnestness with which he had to come to see her, if he had a quarter of it to see lord Rama, he would have had the darshan of Rama long ago. That comment totally changed Tulasidas’s life. Another great mahan whose life was totally changed was Sri Purandara Dasa. We all know him as the grandfather of carnatic music. Apart from this, we should all see the Bhakti he possessed towards the lord. He was never like that since birth. Let us see what changed him.
The earlier name of Purandara Dasa was Srinivasa Nayaka who was born to a devout couple, who were childless for a long time. They had begotten him after praying to Lord Srinivasa. Srinivasa Nayaka’s father, Varadappa Nayaka was an affluent person and was a pawn-broker by profession. He was very devout and did lot of charitable deeds. On the contrary, when Srinivasa Nayaka grew up, he was a miser. He took over his ancestral business but charity was not in his blood at all. When his father was ailing, he refused to spend for his medical treatment and this eventually led to the death of his father. This however did not disturb him at all. On the other hand, his wife was very generous and she always wanted to gift people. This was the situation when Lord Panduranga Vitala decided to make Srinivasa Nayaka his devotee.
He came to his shop in the guise of a poor Brahmin. He begged for alms for his son’s upanayanam. Srinivasa Nayaka in his customary style drove him away and asked him to come back the next day. The Lord came the next day as well and he kept sending him away. This happened for about six months and everyday the Brahmin came back in a persistent manner and Srinivasa Nayaka did not have the heart to give him a dime. After six months, Srinivasa Nayaka gave the Brahmin a fake coin which was given to him by his father when he was a child. The Brahmin very well knew that it was indeed a fake coin and he took that coin and went to his wife and he pretended that he didn’t know that Srinivasa Nayaka was her husband. He told her that some pawn broker had given him a fake coin after asking him to come for six months. She immediately knew that the pawn broker was none other than her husband and she felt very ashamed of her husband’s act.
So she gave away her nose ring. The Brahmin promptly took the nose ring and went to Srinivasa Nayaka’s shop and he requested him to pawn the nose-ring. As soon as he saw the nose ring, he recognized that it belonged to his wife. He immediately locked the nose ring in his shop and went to confront his wife. He asked her to show him the nose-ring. Unable to accost him, she prayed sincerely to the Lord and found the nose-ring in her home, miraculously. She immediately went to give it to her husband. He went back to the shop to see if the nose ring that he had kept inside was safe. But he was not able to find it.
This incident completely changed his life. He realized the futile life that he had been leading all along. He could vividly see that it was the Lord who had disguised himself as Brahmin. He renounced himself and along with his wife and four children he took to the streets and since then sang praises of Lord Vittala. His songs are popular even today.
One should note the Bhakti that Purandaradasa had for the Lord. An interesting point to note here is that, he was a great devotee of Sri Hari and he has composed several kirtans on Lord Krishna, before he found a guru. His guru was Vyasa Theertha. He was the one who conferred on him the name Puranadara Dasa. In one of his kirtans, he sings “My only refugee is the feet of Vyasa Theertha. I could understand Purandara Vittala only through his grace.” Purandara dasa was a great devotee of the Lord before he met his guru. After meeting his guru, he said that is when he understood the Lord himself.
See the humility in some one to whom Lord Panduranga himself appeared in person!
He is among the many Mahans who has sung the glories of Nama Kirtan.
In one of his kirtans, he pleads the Lord for his grace so that he can always remember the Lord’s name.
“nArAyaNA ninna nAmada smaraNeya sArAmrtavenna nAligege barali”
He says “Narayana, let the sweet nectar of the essence of your name come in my tongue”
Whatever situation I am in be it prosperity, poor let your name as Krishna Krishna be in me.
In the final verse he says “santata hari ninna sAsira nAmavu antarangada oLagirisi
entO purandara viTTala rAyane antya kAladalli cintisOhAgE”
He says “Oh Lord! Please place your hallowed names in the depths of my heart and Vittala please shower your grace on me so that I remember your name in my last moments of my life”.
Our Guru Maharaj emphasizes that the key thing in our lives is to remember the lord in one’s last moments. If we think of god during our final moments then we are saved. This fact is also emphasized in Ajamila Charitra in Srimad Bhagavatam.
In our last moments we will think of whatever we have been doing all our life. If we are not chanting the divine names of the lord in our lifetime then it is very difficult to think about the lord in our final moments. When the fear of death overpowers us, we fill try to find solace in whatever we have been doing all our lives. If there is no Namakirtan in our entire lives, then how will it come in our last moment? That the reason we have to chant the names of the Lord and that is a practice for us to think about the Lord in our last stages of life.
Our guru maharaj in one of his lectures mentioned that there is a test to see if one has reached the state to think Lord Narayana in his final moments. If one reminisces about the satsang and about the Lord when we come home after satsangs, then there is a chance that we think about the Lord in our last moments. If we delve into the materialistic chores and not think about the satsang that we just attended, then we are not there yet!
The satsang ended with Nama Sankirtan by the Dallas satsang members.