Jul 17: Pattinathar

17 Jul

The Nama Sankirtan was lead by Aravindji from Orlando.

Srimad Bhagavatam talks of the story of a king called Muchukunda from the Solar Dynasty.  Once Lord Subramanya [Deva Senapathy] wanted to take some rest and so went on a vacation. In his absence, Lord Indra wanted to take care of his army and hence requested Muchukunda to take care of his army. Being an able king, he led many battles won many wars. From the earth, he went to the heaven to wage war to assist the Devas and against the Asuras. Lord Indra thanked Muchukunda his services and let him return to earth to rule the kingdom. When he descended to the earth, things were totally different, for, one day in Deva Loka is many thousand years on earth. Indra, looking at his predicament granted him any boon that he desired. Muchukunda told him that he needed rest as he was feeling very tired and wanted to sleep for ages together and anyone who disturbs him in the sleep will be burned to ashes. So, Muchukunda was asleep in a cave, and thousands of years passed.

Once, an Asura by name Kalayavana was chasing Lord Krishna in a battle and reached the cave in which Muchkunda was sleeping. Kalayavana thought that Muchukunda was Lord Krishna in disguise and so he went and kicked him, waking him up. The moment Muchukunda woke up and saw Kalayevan, the latter was burnt to ashes. At that moment the Lord gave darshan to Muchukunda.  Muchukunda immediately recognized that it was Lord Krishna and sang the praises of the Lord. When asked to request for a boon, Muchukunda said, “I shall not be foolish to ask for any more worldly boons!” He says that when it is time for the people to attain the Holy Feet of the Lord, there are some indications –

“Bhavapavadh go bramato yata bhaveth janasya thasyath chuta satsamagama
Satsangamo yaryhi thadaiya satgathou paravaresyae thvayi jayathae mathihi”

If one is bestowed with satsang, then it is a clear indication that it is indeed his last birth. It is very lucid that the Lord’s compassion has fallen on him. The moment one is associated with satsang which is the divine association with a mahatma, they develop Bhakti and that will automatically take the individual to the holy feet of the lord. Such is the greatness of Satsang.

Sriramji, from Houston talked about Pattinathaar. He started off the lecture by explaining  how the Guru relieves the fear of samsara.

“The Guru makes us enjoy samsara and the life beyond by inducing the fear of samsara and then dispels the fear by making the path very easy through Nama Sankirtan. In any holy text, the crux of the text can be found in the beginning, the end and in the middle of the text. In Srimad Bhagavatam, we start off with ‘Janmadyasa..’ and end with ‘Namasankirtanam…’. The heart of Srimad Bhagavatam is Ajamila Charithra in the sixth canto.

There are twenty eight infernal regions (hells). When King Parikshit starts to wonder about these infernal regions Sage Shuka says that these are very much true! ‘Why go that far, these very much exist in our daily lives!’. Our Guru Maharaj gives a very profound example of this hell. Bull is the beast of burden in Indian villages. When the new baby bull is born, the humans do a lot of cruel things to it. It is in the bull’s fate (karma) to undergo these sufferings. Nobody can actually escape bad times.

Our Guru Maharaj actually gave a different perspective about Gajendra moksham in Srimad Bhagavatham. The elephants were lead by Gajendra (the king of the elephant herd) and they were playing in the water. They were in a way destroying the plant habitat and other aquatic habitat when a crocodile catches his feet.  This is described ‘deiva choditam’ (God-orchestrated). The moment this incident happened, the immediate relatives of Gajendra started to cry and after some time, they thought that it wouldn’t take much time for the crocodile to come and catch them and hence they stepped out of the pond and watched the scene from outside!

There is a lot of impermanence in this world. One classic example is money. Money can get one a very comfortable bed but can get it bring sleep? There is one thing that is permanent in life and it is none other than our Sadguru’s  holy feet. Pattinatar very beautifully says –

“Sadguru Paadhathai notram vitte iru
vaazhvai kudam kavizh neer enre ninai
Suttrathai verum sandhai koodam entre iru
Madathe! Unakku upadesam idhuve!”

Take refuge in the Sadguru’s feet.  Consider the life to be a as the water in a pot (it can topple anytime). Live as if family/friends are akin to the random people whom we see in a bazaar. Oh Mind! This is the teaching for you!

Pattinathaar was born in a place where Cauvery joins the ocean. In those days people used to trade with other countries through ships and to carry out such a trade, they traveled in groups. When his son was a little older, Pattinathar decided to send him to do business. He taught him the tricks of the trade.. His son soon set out on a trade-voyage and months passed by. It was time for his return. Pattinathaar eagerly waited for his son’s arrival but his son did not come. He enquired about his son to his friends who reached safely  and they mentioned that they set out in different groups and that his son was not part of that group.

Days passed by and a storm was brewing in the ocean. This stressed Pattinatar even more. He went to Lord Shiva and begged him for the safe return of his son. “I can’t care lesser for money! Even if I have to live in a hut drinking porridge, that is okay. But Oh! Lord, please save my son! I need my son back” Lord Shiva answered his prayers and his son returned safely. Pattinathaar was in  a state of ecstasy and his joy knew no bounds.

His son came home and relaxed for a while.  Then Pattinathaar went to his son and asked him, “Oh my son! How did the trade go? Did you make any profit.?” In reply to this, he said, “Yes Father!  the trade went fine and I have a small box that I wanted to show you”. When he opened the box, he was agitated to see the box being filled with cow-dung cakes. The furious Pattinathaar asked for the money and in reply his son replied, ‘Dad! Did you not pray to Lord Shiva that you don’t expect a dime out of the trade and you simply wanted me back alive? And now you ask for money/gold?”

“kaadhu arundha oosi varaadhu kadaivizhuthu kaal”

A useless needle that has lost its ears will not come with you in the last moments of one’s life. On hearing this, Pattinatar was greatly impacted. This led him to renounce all his wealth.  He sat under a tree and kept on contemplating on the one-line advice of his son.  The king who was close to Pattinatar saw him in this state walked him to him and asked him if he earned anything out of renunciation! “Ithanai panni enna kandeer?”

Pattinatar aptly replied, ‘Nee nirka nan amaara idhai kandom’

While as a king, all your subjects stand in front of you, now, you are standing in front of me while I am seated!  This is owing to the renunciation.

All of Pattinathar’s compositions are full of Bhakti and Vedanta.  Our Guru Maharaj conveys a very beautiful point. Only if you think of the non-permanence will one be bestowed with dispassion. Dispassion is a critical secret for attaining the Holy-Feet of the Lord. Pattinathar was once walking on the road when he came across a funeral. A typical funeral scene it was, as a lot of people were crying vehemently. Pattinathar started crying louder than those people!

When inquired if he was related to the dead, he said

“Setha pinathai sutri saaga pogum pinangal ellam koodi koodi azhuvadhai kandu azhugiren!”

I wail witnessing the state of all of you, who are corpses to-die and yet lament for the loss of a just-died corpse!

All of us often have this question in our lives, “Where will I go after I die?” Our Guru Maharaj explains what happens after death. In our dreams we see ourselves. We experience things. We have our manas [mind] and feelings associated with it. For example, we dream of going to a temple and do Pradakshina to the Lord. We have intellect in the dream state. But when the dream ends, the shooksma sharira is gone and we come back to our senses. Our Guru Maharaj compares this to the life after death.

In death, the gross /physical body dies.  The sookshma sharira (subtle body) [that also experienced the dream] will go to teh Swarga / Naraka depending on the merits / sins accrued in that birth, and based on the karmas, is born again.

One takes an umbrella to take shelter during the monsoon.  The Divine Name that we chant is verily the umbrella that can provide us shelter after death.

If we take to dhyana/yoga/tapas, we believe in our own ability to take us to the Holy Feet of the Lord, and we are likely to fall at any stage.  In Bhakti Marga, we are not dependent on the individual’s ability but only on the sheer grace of the Lord, which translates to unlimited Guru Krupa.

Yama Dharma Raja refuses to touch those devotees who have chanted the Divine Names of the Lord. This was clearly seen in the case of Ajamila!  Do we need any more assurance about the potency of Nama Kirtan, than verily the God of Death?”

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.


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