The Nama Sankirtan was led by Raj and Chitraji family from Sunnyvale, California.
Narayananji from Boston talked about the significance of Ashada Ekadasi. The Friday satsang was indeed very significant since it was Aashada Ekadasi, a very auspicious one. The birth star of two great vaishnavite saints is celebrated this week – Nathamuni and Periyaazhwar.
There is a beautiful Abhang that extols the glory of Ashada Ekadasi
nAmAchA bajAr paNdarI nAmAchA bajAra
nAmachagEti nAmachadEti kOtiguLam uddhAra (paNdari)
dAyIm dAyIm santhamiLAlE karitI jai jai kAra (paNdari)
AshADa kArthika yAthrA barati vittalahA saradhAra (paNdari)
gOpALa pUrim kAlA hOyI lAypukyAnchAbatimAra (paNdari)
bALakadAsA lAgali kOti tarilEm harichEm dwAra (paNdari)
Pandarpur is a marketplace of the Divine Name! By buying and selling Nama in this marketplace, one transcends crores of Janmas! Sadhu groups merrily dance and sing all around echoing ‘Jay! Jay! Vittal’ everywhere!
They undertake Pandarpur Yatra during the holy months of Ashada and Karthika to see the countenance of the Emperor Vittala! The whole of Pandarpur becomes a ‘RAsamandala’ with puffed rice, fragrances and colored powder strewn all over the place! Standing on the portals of the Lord’s temple, they sing the Divine Name of Vittala!
Tejas from Houston TX, very beautifully talked about the significance of Guru.
Ramcharitmanas states that
“binu satsanga bibeka na hoi, rama krupa binu sulabha na soi”
It is very lucid that it is not possible to gain wisdom without satsang and without the grace of the Lord, it is not possible to be blessed with satsangs.
Tuesday, the seventh of July is Guru Poornima. It is the Full Moon day of the Ashada month and the birth date of Veda Vyas, who is the author of the Puranas and Vedas. On this day, worship is offered to Veda Vyasa and the Guru.
Veda Vyasa was the re-incarnation of the Lord, and so the lord himself took an incarnation on Guru Poornima only to show the importance of the Guru to the mankind.
To understand the full meaning of Guru Poornima, we must first understand who the Guru is. Guru Gita, in the Skanda Purana states that:
Yo guru sa shivaha prokto yaha shivaha sa gurusmrutaha
Vikalpam yastu kurvit sa naro gurutalpagaha
The Guru is Lord Shiva himself and the fact that Shiva is the Guru, is reminded to us in all the Smritis. He, who makes any distinction between the two, is guilty of a great crime.
So one can proclaim that guru is none other than the Lord in human form.
However, it is a difficult task to recognize a Guru among others in this world, so Guru Gita has expounded upon this.
Gukarastam rukarovai rukarastanivardhaka
Andhakaraniroditva gururitya vidiyate
The word Guru is none other than the Brahman that swallows ‘ajnana’ (ignorance) ‘Gu’ means darkness; ‘ru’ means to remove it. So Guru removes the darkness of ignorance.
Ramcharitmanas describes the grace of the Guru:
Bandau guru pada padma paraagaa | suruchi subaas saras anuraaga ||
Amia moorimaya choorana chaaru | samana sakala bhava ruja parivaaru || (1)
sukrti sambhu tana bimala bibhooti | manjula mangala moda prasooti ||
jana mana manju mukur mal harani | kiyen tilak gun ganbas karani || (2)
Sri gur pad nakh mani gana joti | sumirat dibya drishti hiyam hoti ||
Dalan moh tam so suprakaasu | bade bhaag ur aavayi jaasu || (3)
Ugharahim bimala bilochana hi ke | mitahim dosha dukh bhav rajni ke ||
Sujahim raam charit mani maanik | guputa pragata jahan jo jehi kaanik || (4)
The splendid radiance in the lotus feet of the guru forces divinity in the mind just by his glance. It removes all the infatuation [Maya] and blesses one with eternal bliss.
So how does the Guru bestow knowledge? It is said in Ramcharitmanas –
“srigura pada nakha mani gana joti, sumirata dibya dhristi hiya hoti”
By merely thinking of the toenail of the Guru, one is blessed with his divine vision. Guru’s grace is causeless and infinite and through this causeless mercy, one can attain the Supreme Truth.
So what is Guru Poornima? It is on this day where we offer our prayers to the Guru.
Lord Rama, the master of the whole universe has illustrated the glory of the Guru and how one must worship the Guru. Ramcharitmanas says that –“
“gurahi pranamu manahimana kinha, ati laghava uthai dhanu linha..”
Lord Rama offered obeisance to His guru (Vishvamitra), and then lifted the bow with great agility.
Shabari’s life-history expains how one should offer worship to the Sadguru.
“sabari dekhi rama gruha ae, muni ke bacana samujhi jiya bhae”
When Sabari saw that Lord Rama had come to her abode she immediately recalled the words of her Guru, Sage Matanga.
Sage Matanga was Sabari’s guru. During his final moments of his life he told Sabari that the Lord would come to her ashram. Sabari faithfully and eagerly waited for years and years for the arrival of the Lord. It is to be said that she would pick fruits and flowers to offer to the Lord everyday. She never questioned the words of her Guru and prepared for the Lord’s arrival everyday, despite the fact that people around her called her insane.
So the best way to serve the Guru, and attain the Lord, is to listen to what the Guru says verbatim, just like Sabari. And what does our Guru Maharaj say? He says to merely chant the Maha Mantra to attain the Lord.
“Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare”
On account of Guru Poornima, Tejas shared some beautiful thoughts of great mahans which extolled the glory of the Sad guru.
“Let no man in the world live in delusion. Without a Guru none can cross over to the other shore.” — Guru Nanak
“Guru, God and Self are one.” – Ramana Maharshi
“ It is not necessary for you to meet your guru on the physical plane. The guru is not external”. Neem Karoli Baba
Swami Papa Ramdas says –
“Let His Name be your most precious possession,
To be His servant be your honoured status,
To feel that you are His child be your supreme privilege,
To love, adore and serve Him be the sole occupation of your Life”.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib
I am a mere insect, a worm. O True Guru, I seek Your Sanctuary. Please be merciful, and bless me with the Light of the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
O my Best Friend, O Divine Guru, please enlighten me with the Name of the Lord.
Through the Guru’s Teachings, the Naam is my breath of life.
The Kirtan of the Lord’s Praise is my life’s occupation.
The prayers unto Guru in Ramacharitamanas elaborates the significance of guru
Shri Guru Charan Saroj Raj Nij mane mukure sudhar
Varnao Raghuvar Vimal Jasu Jo dayaku phal char
I clean my mind with the pollen dust of lotus feet of Guru. The mind is tainted with bad thoughts and we need some thing to clean the mind and it is only that dust that can clean our minds and bestow the four fold fruits of life (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha)..
Tejas concluded his lecture with a beautiful doha from Saint Kabir:
“Guru gobind dou khade, kaake lagoon paay
Balihari guru aapne gobind diyo batay”
If the Guru and the Lord both are here whom should I bow to first.
Glory be unto the guru, who showed the path to God. Guru is like a mother. A mother takes care of the child from the day she conceives it. She puts up with lots of difficulties and sacrifices her desires for the welfare of the child. My Guru too took me into His arms and fondled me when I was called as sinner by the rest of the world just as a mother would fondle a child. But God turned to look at me only after I was purified by the grace and love of my Guru just as a father would cherish to see his grown up child holding a high position in the society and shares none of the difficulties of a mother. ”
The satsang ended with prayers with Mahamantra Kirtan.