The Nama Sankirtan was led by Sriramji and family from Tomball, TX.
Narayananji from Boston talked about the significance of Namasankirtan in Mahabharat.
In Mahabharata, all of us know of the ‘asat’ sabha when the Kauravas invited the Pandavas for the inauguration of their new palace. During that time, they invited Yudhishtra for gambling. As they lose each round, he loses his belongings – his kingdom, his 4 different armies, then his brothers, himself and his wife Draupadi finally. That is when Dhuschadana drags Draupadi into the court and ill-treats her. It is at this point that Draupadi calls out the Divine Name of God – ‘Govinda’.
It is said that the Lord was busy playing a game of dice with His spouse Sathyabama and, right at that moment, exclaimed ‘Akshayam’ that means – incessant (win). We are unaware if the Lord won the game of dice, but certainly blessed Draupadi with incessant clothing, of different colors. This is verily due to the fact that she surrendered herself to the Lord by chanting the Divine Name.
Our Guru Maharaj very beautifully compares this to the scenario today. The land of Bharat is decorated by great Mahans who descended on this earth to reinstate Dharma [like Bhishma, Krupacharya and Dhronacharya in the court in the Mahabharata]. Draupadi who emerged out of ‘Agni’, the fire from the sacrifice her father Yagnasena performed. The Lord usually manifests from the Agni. Hence Draupadi can be likened to God. Draupadi’s treatment in the court can simply be compared to the fact that God Himself is in trouble in the Kali Yuga, when even the greatest of Saints who have come to reinstate the Dharma are helpless and remain as silent spectators. It is only the Divine Name that can save even the Lord who is being tarnished and blemished in Kali Yuga.
When Draupathi called out the name “Govinda”, not only did she get the refuge at the Lord’s feet, but, the entire scenario in the court started to change. The mind of Dhridarashtra changed for the good. He was not only physically blinded, but also blinded by prejudice and cunningness. At every instance he asked his ministers as to what the Pandavas were betting, so on and so forth. The Divine Name inflicted change in his heart and he called out in an apologetic tone to Draupadi, “Oh! My dear daughter-in-law, I shall grant you three boons.” She took two boons and got back her husbands their possessions and restored their kingdom… and the story goes on….
Thus, clearly the Divine Name of the Lord changes the mindset of the people and bestows them with good thoughts. Such is the glory of surrender by singing the divine names of the lord [Vachika Sharanagathi].
Followed by introductions, Sri Narayan Daveji of Houston talked on the significance of Nama Sankirtan as the Guru Poornima was fast approaching.
dhyAyan krutE yajan yajnaihi trEtAyAm dwAparE archayan |
yadApnoti tadApnoti kalau sankIrtya kesavam ||
That supreme good which could be attained by the performance of meditation/dyana in the Age of Kruta, sacrifices in the Age of Treta and worship of the Lord in the Age of Dwapara can verily be attained, in the Age of Kali, by the mere chanting of the Divine Names of the Lord!
The lord’s first creation was Lord Brahma. When Lord Brahma was in meditation, the Lord came in front of Him and informed Him about the purpose of Creation. Thus ‘Dhyana’ or meditation signifies Krita (Satya) Yuga.
In Treta Yuga, we all very well know that fact King Dasaratha and Kausalya Mata were blessed with a child who is none other than the Lord Himself. Prior to that, they were not blessed with a child for long, and hence, a depressed Dasaratha sake his Guru’s advice to seek a remedy. Sage Vasishta having blessed King Dasaratha, invited a very learned sage, Shringi to perform Putra Kameshti Yagna. Following the yagna, Kausalya Maata gave birth to four sons, the eldest of them being Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna. So Tretha yuga signifies the sacrifices and the Yagas.
In Dwapara Yuga, Lord Krishna performed so many Leelas and he showed the importance of archana in many ways. As a resident of Gokul he preached them to do archana for the Govardhana Hill, and lifted the very same Giriraj (hill) to protect everyone. However at the end of Dwapara Yuga and in the dawn of nascent of Kali Yuga, Sage Narada out of sheer compassion approached Lord Brahma to help people break the transmigration of births and deaths in the age of Kali. Lord Brahma chanted the Mahamantra
“Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”
“Hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare”
People being skeptical and doubtful in the age of Kali were not adhering to the path of dharma and hence the lord incarnated as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to spread the Mahamantra.
The sixteen nodes of the Mahamantra represents the sixteen gunas and the sixteen kaalas– ‘Shraddha’, ‘Akasha’, ‘Vayu’, ‘Tejas’, ‘Jala’, ‘Pritvi’, ‘Indriya’, ‘Manas’, ‘Anna’, ‘Virya’, ‘Tapasya’, ‘Mantra’, ‘Karma’, ‘Loka’, ‘Naama’.
The Lord created Prana, and from Prana created Shraddha (Faith), Ether, Air, Fire, Water, Earth, the Indriyas, Mind, Food, Strength, Tapas (Penance), Vedas, Karmas (Sacrifices), different planes of Creation. And in this creation, the Lord is omnipresent as His Divine Names.
We must have heard of the Upachara Pooja. There are sixteen different Upacharas in performing a Pooja. It is said that the sixteen worded Mahamantra compensates this Upachara pooja. We also know that the number sixteen is the number for the ‘samskaras’ (rituals performed). The human beings have sixteen ‘samskaras’ in our lives.
It is seen that when Lord Rama incarnated in Treta yuga, the sacrifices that King Dasaratha and Kausalya mata performed a yaga which required very learned scholars and was very difficult to find such learned scholars. When it is the case in treta yuga, then what to talk about Yagas in the age of kali yuga? Since we cannot perform the sixteen ‘samskaras’ in the right way, the Lord in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed the people of Kaliyuga with the Mahamantra which is equivalent of the sixteen ‘samskaras’.
The sixteen syllable Mahamantra has two ‘aksharas’ each. And for the sixteen nodes we hence have thrity-two gunas [characteristics].
Now let’s ponder on the meaning of Mahamantra. It contains three Divine Names – ‘Hare’, ‘Rama’ and ‘Krishna’. ‘Hare’ comes from ‘ha’ and ‘ra’ dhaatu (‘harana’ means to destroy)
He who does the haran of ‘samsara’ (worldly existence) is Harinarayan.
He who does haran of ‘ajnana’ (ignorance) is Shiva.
He who does haran of ‘durgati’ (misfortune) is Durga.
He who does haran of ‘vighna’ (obstacle) is Ganesha.
He who does haran of ‘andhakara’ (darkness) is Surya.
Thus the term ‘hare’ applies to all the five types of upasaks (devotees of five principal sects): Shaiva (Shiva), Shakta (Devi), Ganapatya (Ganesh) , Saura (Surya) and Vaishnava.
The word Rama is ‘Parabrahma’. The word Rama came into existence even before the incarnation of lord Rama. When King Dasaratha and Kausalya were blessed with lord Rama, he approached Sage Vashista for naming ceremony.
Jo aanand sindhu sukhraasi | seekar te trailok supaasi ||
so sukh dhaam raam as naama | akhil lok daayak bisraamaa || (Ramcharitmanas: 196 C:3)
The word Rama is to bestow one with ‘suk’ [happiness] to all the three worlds. By uttering the word Rama, the mind is removed from all the stress and is filled with calmness.
The word Krishna means something that attracts our mind.
Thus, even if one chants the Maha Mantra with a worldly desire in mind, the power of Maha Mantra is that the Lord not only satiates that person’s worldly desire but also bestows Mukti. Such is the greatness of Mahamantra.
The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.