The Nama Sankirtan was led by Nainar Mohamed and family from Mountain View, California.
This was followed by a talk by Narayanan from Boston.
We have been starting our satsangs by talking about the glory of satsang over the past few weeks and hence I thought we will talk about that, today too.
In Srimad Ramayana we see people with different characteristics. One is Sugreeva who is terror stricken at the thought of his brother Vaali. His life is in danger as Vaali can kill him any moment and he hides to save himself. He had lost all his materialistic possessions [his share of the kingdom] On the other side of the spectrum is Ravana. He was one of the most learned person, adept in shastras and a very powerful ruler indeed. This is at the beginning of Ramayana. However at the end of Ramayana, we see that Sugreeva is the ruler of Kishkinda and he leads a happy life. On the other hand, Ravana dies a miserable death. The main difference to note is that Sugreeva had Hanuman has his pal and that bought all the fortune for him, whereas Ravana set fire to Hanuman’s tail, thereby insulting the Bhagavatottama. He got rid of all the satsangs that he had destroyed Vibishana’s kingdom. These acts verily lead to the downfall of Ravana. The company of Sadhus and taking a refuge in the holy feet of Sadguru and not insulting any Bhagavatottama will keep one happy in this life and beyond.
Then, who is a Guru? Anyone who shows us the Lord is verily the Guru. There are many different Gurus illustrated in our scriptures.
It would be surprising to note that even Kamsa and Sukracharya were Gurus? How? It was Kamsa who showed the place of Lord Krishna to Akrura and created an opportunity for Akrura to meet Lord Krishna, although his intent was to slay Krishna. That way, Kamsa becomes Akrura’s Guru. During Vamana Avatara, when Lord Vamana comes to the place of King Bali’s sacrifice, Sukracharya, the preceptor of King Mahabali, warns the King ‘Hey Vairochana! this young lad is none other than Hari. Beware!’. By showing the Lord to King Bali, Sukracharya becomes a Guru.
But who is a Uttama Guru? Some say that the Uttama Guru is like a sorcerer’s stone. A sorcerer’s stone is one that when brought into contact with any object turns that object into gold. But Mahans beg to differ. The object may turn into gold. However that very object cannot be used to turn other objects into gold. Whereas in the case of a Uttama Guru, by a mere touch, a Uttama Guru can turn his disciples into Jnanis and the chain does not stop there. The disciples can turn other disciples into Jnanis by their touch. Now, do we see why a Uttama Guru cannot be compared to a sorcerrer’s stone?
There was a pious brahmin couple who lived in the state of Andhra Pradesh, whose family had been continuously doing ‘Soma Yaga’ (Soma Yaga is a particular sacrifice that has been advocated in our scriptures for all brahmin householders). It was said that when he had completed a hundred soma yagas, the Lord Himself will be born to them.
This couple had shifted to Varanasi to earn their living, for he was a Vedic scholar and Varanasi was the seat of Vedic education during that time. It was the time of Muslim invasions in India and often dacoits and looters came in horses and scared the lives out of the residents. During one such attack, fearing for life, the couple moved into a forest. The wife was bearing the aforesaid god-child in her womb as they made their way into the forest. One night, in the middle of the forest, the wife gave birth to a beautiful boy. There was no help to reach out to, and it is said that the animals and other natural forces verily guarded the child after it was born. They named the child “Vaishvanara” (Vaishvanara is the name of Agni – the God of Fire, which was their primary deity worship).
Vaishvanara grew up to be a great scholar in his later life and came to be called by everyone as Sri Vallabhacharya. Sri Vallabhacharya has written commentaries on the Upanishads and various other scriptures. His commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam – called as “Subhodini” is till date, considered as one of the best commentaries of Srimad Bhagavatam till date. He propounded the path of worship known as “Pushti Marg” and had temple establishments in various places, including Allahabad and Brindavan.
Krishnadas was one of the disciples of Sri Vallabha. Sri Vallabha had appointed Krishnadas as the Manager of the Srinathji temple in Mathura he founded. Sri Vallabha instructed Krishnadas that only the best of the best products be offered to the deity. This, Krishnadas, took as the initiation of the Guru and followed it in word and spirit. Even today, the betel leaves for the deity come from Vellore in Tamilnadu (which is known to produce the best betel leaves in the country), water from the Yamuna is brought to this place daily and saffron from Kashmir is flown to the temple on a daily basis!
Once Krishnadas was going on a horse carriage to Mathura to get groceries for the temple when he heard a melodious music coming from somewhere. He was so much drawn to the music that he asked the carriage driver to halt. Later, he asked that the carriage be driven towards the source of the music and finally, he reached a place where a beautiful maiden was singing in a melodious voice and dancing in front of a few rich people.
Krishnadas sat mesmerized by the elegance of the maiden’s dance and the melody of her voice. He felt there could not be a greater vocalist and dancer than her in the whole world. He approached her after the dance and learned that her name was Ranjani.
He remembered his Guru’s instruction and told Ranjani, ‘Ranjani! will you dance in front of my Master?’
Ranjani immediately turned down Krishnadas’ request – ‘I don’t come outside to dance. Ask your Master to come here!’
‘My master wouldn’t come. But I assure you, you will be very satisfied after having danced in his presence.’
Ranjani, ‘Well! Will your master pay me enough? I demand a large sum when I perform outside.’
‘Don’t every worry about it. My Master is extremely affluent. No one in this world is as rich as him, so much so that, the Goddess of wealth herself is at his feet!’
Ranjani said, ‘I don’t dance in front of oldaged people. Is your master handsome enough?’
Krishnadas said, ‘My master is the most handsome person on earth! He is like a million cupids put together, and he is ever a young man in his sweet-sixteen.’
Ranjani asked, ‘Is your master a rasika (conneisseur)? I will be really upset if my audience cannot appreciate and enjoy my music and dance and hence will not perform if he is not a rasika.’
Krishnadas immedately said, ‘My master is the greatest conneisseur of music and dance. He is ‘akhilakalaadi guru’ – the master of all arts!
Having convinced Ranjani, Krishnadas took her along with him to the temple. When Ranjani asked him to take her to his master, Krishnadas pulled open the screen that kept the deity of Lord Krishna from her… and lo! Ranjani was speechless when she gazed at the divine beauty of the Lord.
She immediately started singing and dancing. Her performance for the ‘Master’ was extra-ordinary that particular day and went on for a long time. With bhaava filled in her dance and music, her performance reached a cresendo. Eventually, as she finished her performance, in a lightning flash, she went into the sanctum and merged into Lord Krishna.
Within a single performance in front of the Lord, that very state that Mirabai had attained, by merging into the Lord of Dwaraka; that very state that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had attained by merging into Lord Jagannath of Puri, Ranjani had attained, inspite of the fact that Ranjani did not even perform a fraction of the devotion that the Mirabai and Mahaprabhu had performed all their lives! – The only reason being the fact that she was shown the Lord by Krishnadas, who as the disciple at the feet of the Uttama Guru Sri Vallabhacharya.
Vallabhacharya had many such disciples who have delivered so many souls by their mere presence and touch.
Poojya Poornimaji surprised the satsang by her presence and talked about the path of complete surrender to god. She is currently visiting Australia for satsangs.
We all have numerous questions that we want to have cleared when we have our Guru Maharaj’s darshan, don’t we? I happened to read a nice incident in the life of Bhagavan Ramana in this connection, which I am happy to share in this satsang.
Muruganaar is the disciple of Ramana who, today, is the person behind bringing out all of Bhagavan Ramana’s works to light. Once, Muruganaar when in the presence of Bhagavan Ramana, put forth a bunch of questions to Bhagavan. ‘How come I have so many doubts’, asked Muruganaar. Bhagavan replied that it was common to have doubts even if one is in the abode of the Sadguru and that is because of the fact that one has not reached the point of complete surrender.
In this context, Bhagavan Ramana narrates the story of Sanatkumaras. This is slightly different from the one we find in Srimad Bhagavatam, but nevertheless, conveys the idea very well.
‘Once Sanatkumaras had numerous doubts which they wanted to get clarified. Firstly they reached Vaikunta, the abode of Vishnu. Seeing Vishnu along with His divine consort Lakshmi, they felt that being a householder, Vishnu would not be the right person to answer their questions. So they moved on and decided to meet Lord Shiva to pose their questions.
Knowing beforehand that the Kumaras would turn Him down if he was with Goddess Parvati, Shiva took the form of a young man and penance under a banyan tree. The Kumaras approached Dakshinamurthy and decided to stay there until their doubts were cleared. They sat in front of Lord Dakshinamurthy and started firing their questions. Patient as he was, Lord Dakshinamurthy answered their questions one by one, and this went on for about a year. Although time passed by, there was no sign of cessation of doubts and questions. Sanatkumaras kept volleying their doubts. A year passed and Lord Shiva decided, ‘There is not going to be an end for this. Let me go into meditation.’. Thinking so, He went into deep meditation and enquiry. This very dynamic silence created peace and bliss in the Sanatkumaras.!
When Bhagavan Ramana completed the anecdote, Muruganaar looked extremely addled. He said, ‘But Bhagavan, I have never heard of a story that Lord Dakshinamurthy spoke volumes to Sanatkumaras! I have heard of Lord Dakshinamurty as a guru in silence always! This story sounds so new to me!’
Bhagavan Ramana smiled at Muruganaar and exclaimed, ‘True! It is not found in the Puranas, But that is what happened!’
Having narrated this incident from Bhagavan Ramana’s life, Poornimaji added,
‘The very silence of the Guru explains it all. ‘Gurostu Maunam Vyaakhyaanam’. Seeing this in conjunction with the story in Srimad Bhagavatam reveals a very interesting fact…
What is the story in Bhagavatam? The Sanatkumaras long to cherish and behold the beauty and bliss of the Almighty Lord Vishnu and reach the gates of Vaikunta. At the entrance, they are stopped by the gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, and they are cursed. The story goes on…
Now, what do we see? Initially, when the Sanatkuamaras saw Lord Vishnu, although He was the Lord Almighty, they saw Him only as a householder!
Then after they acquired the supreme knowledge at the feet of their Guru Lord Dakshinamurthy and have been recipients of the Guru’s grace they longed to behold the beauty and cherish the bliss of the same Lord Vishnu, whom they considered a mere householder earlier!
Without the grace of the Guru, even if you meet God face to face, you will not realize the grace and Glory of the Lord. It is only with the Guru’s grace that you can realize God.
The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.