The Nama Sankirtan was lead by Sankarji’s family from Bay Area California.
Narayananji from Boston talked about the significance of satsang and the importance of Guru Krupa. We have learnt the fact from various discourses that human birth is indeed very rare. The main of human birth is to attain liberation. Our Guru Maharaj very beautifully says that realization is pure and pristine Krishna Bhakti. When one performs Krishna Bhakti for the sake of Bhakti which is devoid of any condition or cause then that is verily Mukti.
“Nija bhakthargalae jivan mukthargalae”
True devotees of the Lord are indeed Jivan Muktas. And true Krishna Bhakti is indeed Mukti. We can see such a Krishna Bhakti in the life-history of Prahalada, the Gopis of Brindavan. Our Guru Maharaj says that it is very difficult for the people in the age of Kali to develop that intense Krishna Bhakti. So he preaches the steps that one should follow to develop that pure Bhakti for Lord Krishna which is untainted with any desires. How is Krishna Bhakti attained? It happens only through Nama Sankirtan. So how does one develop conviction to Nama Sankirtan? It is verily through satsangs. We all know that it is very rare to get a satsang. One would need abundant Guru Krupa to be blessed with a satsang. When being part of satsang, he would get the flair of Nama Sanakirtan. By chanting the Divine Names of the Lord would instill Krishna Bhakti and when that Bhakti is untainted, it is verily Mukti.
Knowing the fact that Guru Krupa is causeless and has no time factor attached to it. It only comes by His sheer will and wish. It is due to the good merits accrued over so many births that one may be blessed with Guru Krupa. But we are all truly blessed to be in the abode of our Guru Maharaj.
Our Friday satsang is an endeavor to chant the Divine Names of the lord and to reminisce his glories.
Following this, Ramyaji from San Jose spoke on Guru Mahima thus,
Guroh anugraihivena puman purnaha prashantayae
Says Srimad Bhagavatham. A man attains the state of completeness only by the grace of his guru’s grace and blessings.
“Gurvilla viththai pazh” goes a saying in tamil.
“Sthothriyam brahma nishtam” says the Upanishadas. A guru is the one who is very knowledgeable in all the Shastras and has well understood its essence and follows the path shown by the Shastras and it is he who has attained Brahmanubhuti.
The Upanishads preach the path of Sharanagathi to one such guru. So how do we attain a Uttama Guru. We very well know that our efforts will be futile if we try to find a Guru ourselves. Instead of searching for a Guru, if we instead search for the Lord, we will get a Guru.
Well it is not very easy for everyone to attain a Guru just like that and it is to be said that the Lord also has certain guidelines to direct a soul to a Uttama Guru. A devotee of the highest order and for one the Lord thinks of showering his grace, for whom he decided to break the transmigration of births and deaths and having them attain Moksha, he doesn’t take those devotees to His holy Feet directly but only through a Guru. This is the Lord’s way.
If we perform the Bhakti from the bottom of our heart by abiding to the path shown by dharma, and if that unconditional Bhakti is directed towards the lord, then the Lord Himself will lead him to a Guru. We cannot find a Guru by our means. We cannot go and experiment gurus after gurus to see if he is indeed a Uttama Guru. When one gets cheated even in worldly affairs, what to talk of spiritual life? We do a business with a dear friend of ours, but we develop some ill-feelings and we develop enmity and we stop doing business. When one attains a Guru who is indeed not a true Guru, then what he loses is not just money or anything but he has wasted his entire birth. When the Guru doesn’t possess Jnana, how can he impart Jnana to his disciples? Can a blind man show another blind man the way? When that Guru itself is not going to attain moksha, how can he show the path of moksha to his disciple?
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa very beautifully once said that a small snake once desired to eat a big frog. So the snake tries to swallow a little portion of the big frog, but, that snake is not capable enough to swallow the whole frog and so after some time, both of them die. Akin to this is that fact that if one attains a guru who is not a Jivan Mukta then not only the devotee will not reach the heavenly abode but also that Guru as well.
So who is a Uttama Guru? A sadguru is one who bestows you with Gnana and Bhakti and throws you unto the Holy Feet of the Lord without your knowledge.
If you go and ask a devotee as to what his Guru was doing when he went to see Him. He would say,
Srihari charana dyana paarayanam
He was meditating on the Holy Feet of Lord Sri Hari.
Sritha jana taapa trayasam haranam
The devotee would say “I had some worries in my mind and decided to talk to him about that to find some solace. But since he was meditating on Lord Hari, and when I went and sat in front of him my mind was filled with peace”.
Aananda Bhaashpa poortitha netram
If you look at his eyes, you can experience the tears of joy in his eyes.
Since he is constantly meditating on the beautiful Lord, the Guru becomes
Adbudha roopam poolagangitha gathram
His body is so beautiful and experiences horripliation in ecstasy.
So what do we, as devotees of Sadguru do? Meditate upon this uttama guru
Sri gurum eva sadaa bhavayae… hrudayae
At another instant of time, when you ask a devotee as to what he was doing he would say
Bhagavthamrutha rasikam sumukam
Bhava bhaya banchana charitham lalaitham
He expounds Srimad Bhagavatam with great vigor. We all know that by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam the disease called samsara will be cured.
And how was he explaining Srimad Bhagavatam? The devotee says “Oh I don’t know whether it is hundredth time he is preaching Bhagavatam to his disciples.”. But every time he says, it looks like it is the first time he is discoursing on Srimad Bhagavatam and he is filled with joy and vigor when he expounds on it. He explains in a manner akin to how a teacher teaches a small child. He doesn’t show off his knowledge and only tells the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam .
After Bhagavatam what did your guru do? He would say
Srihari keerthana chaturam susvaram
Sripaduka kruta nardanam sugunam
He was singing the glories of the Lordm dancing softly.
So who is fortunate to be blessed with such a Uttama Guru
“Pratipadam ha Krishna Krishneti gayantham”
It is only for that devotee who is immersed in the thought of Lord Krishna.
Prasanna mukham bhaktha hridi nivasantham
Once you have seen such a Sadguru, you don’t have to take efforts to meditate upon this Guru. His ‘Prasanna mukham’ [pleasing face] will bring His dyana into your heart.
What does he bless his devotees who come to have his darshan
Krishna Prema vitarana seelam
His very nature is to bestow the love for Krishna which he possess to his devotees. And
Kruthartha jana gana mangala moolam
If you are fortunate enough, then you will be blessed with such a Sadguru.
Thirumoolar in thirumandiram says the darshan of a sadguru will lead the mind into a peaceful state.
“Thelivu guruvin thirumeni kanthal
Thelivu guruvin thirunamam sepal
Thelivu guruvin thirvarthai kettal
Thelivu gurvarul chinthithal dhaane”
Guru’s darshan, meditating on the guru, abiding by the guru’s words and always thinking about the guru will purify you and bestow you with Jnana,
If we take the life-history Ramana Maharishi. Ramana once had a question about death and that question in turn gripped him with fear. Through self-inquiry, he attained the Supreme State and yet came to Thiruvannamlai.
He has composed several songs on Lord Arunachaleshwara. The most popular is the Aksharamanamalai [a series of 108 songs]. His Guru was none other than Lord Arunachala –
“kuttramuttraruthennai gunamaai panithaal guruvuruvaai olir arunaachalaa’
He enjoys calling that Arunachaleshwara as guru and not as Lord!
Akin to Ramana is Arungirnathar. He also did not have a Guru. He was also ordained by Lord Muruga. Of the numerous compositions on Lord Muruga, he says,
Santhatham bandham thodaralae….
Japamalai thantha sadgurunatha
Even though it was Lord Mwho gave him the Japamala, he calls Lord Muruga as the Sadgurunatha.
Uruvai Aruvaai Ulathaai Ilathaai
Maruvaai Malaraai Maniyaai Oliyaai
Karuvaai Uyiraai Gathiyaai Vithiyaai
Guruvaai Varuvaai Arulvaai Guhane
Just like how we all have a family doctor, family deity, it is very important to have a guru.
Sant kabirdas in one of his dohas very beautifully says that “If at all both the Lord and the Guru come and stand in front of him, he would first prostrate to his Guru and then to the Lord.” There is a beautiful reason as to why he says this. A mother takes every step to bring up the child right from the first day of her pregnancy till the child becomes independent. When the child grows up and becomes very learned and earns a very respectable position in the society, the father proudly tells everybody that it is his son.
Similarly a guru, takes everyone unto his feet and bestows them with Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya and eventually throws them unto the feet of the Lord even without their knowledge.
Koorathaazhwaar was a great devotee of Sri Ramanuja. He hailed from a place called ‘Kooram’. He used to feed a huge number of devotees everyday. His Guru Bhakti was unique. He knew no other God other than Sri Ramanuja.
Once, Lord Sri Varadaraja (of Kanchi) told Kacchiappanambi, “Why don’t you fan us in the ‘sayana gruha’, where we are locked up every night?” and Kachiappa Nambi instantly agreed. One such night, it was past midnight when the Divine couple heard a clinging noise. The Mother asked the Lord, ‘What is the noise at such a late hour?’
The Lord explained, “Our devotee Koorathaazhwaar is closing the door of his home after offering food to all the pilgrims. It is verily the sound of his doors being closed.”
At once, Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) remarked, “Is there any dearth of Koorathaazhwar’s wealth?”
Kacchiappanambi who was listening to the divine conversation as he was fanning the Divine couple, couldn’t wait for dawn. He wanted to share this exciting news with Koorathazhwar an expected that the latter will jump in joy on learning that the Goddess of wealth had blessed him in this manner.
In the morning he rushed to Koorathaazhwaar’s home and with much joy said, “Last night the Lord and His Consort spoke about you.”
With excitement writ large on his face, Koorathaazhwaar asked, “What did they speak about me?”
When Kachiappa Nambi spoke about the Divine Mother’s remark about Koorathaazhwar’s wealth, a shadow of sorrow covered Koorathaazhwaar’s face.
He lamented, “Oh, Did they speak only this about me? Did not allude to me as a speck of dust at Sri Ramanuja’s feet? Did they speak only about my wealth? And, you have come rushing to me to tell this?” He was extremely dejected. He at once walked out of his ouse renouncing everything. Such was Koorathaazhwar’s Guru Bhakti!
The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.