The satsang started with Nama Sankirtan by Sriramji from Houston, Texas.
Sri Narayanan from Boston spoke in relation to the Janmashtami.
“We celebrate quite a few events – Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturti, etc. Where in our scriptures is the authority or the authenticity of such celebrations? In Srimad Bhagavatam, in the 11th Canto, the Lord describes the qualities of a Bhakta to Uddhava. In that, He mentions, “It is the duty of my devotee to always worship my form, go on pilgrimages, celebrate my birth and festivals related to me, sings my divine names and my divine glories… “. So it is Lord Krishna Himself who is the authority for our celebrations.
This satsang happens in the context of the Janmashtami. And we are celebrating this great festival in our satsang through Nama Sankirtan and Katha Shravanam. Can there be a better way to celebrate Krishna’s birth?”
Following the introductions, Sri Narayanaswamy from Seattle spoke on Surrender and faith.
“We all celebrated Janmashtami. Lord Krishna was born and He visited all our residences! How could He visit all the houses at the same time? It is simply because He is a ‘Lila Lola’ (conjurer of divine plays). In Brindavan, He was found with each of the hundreds of Gopikas who were playing ‘raasa’ with the Lord. Likewise, He entered our houses, as well as our hearts! When we talk about Krishna, Mahabharata comes to our mind. – He has shown us two key principles – Surrender to the Lord and Faith in Guru.
The Kurukshetra battle was in the offing. Duryodhana rushes to Dwaraka to seek Krishna ‘s help, as also Arjuna from the Pandava’s side. Duryodhana was the first to come. He sat at the head of Lord Krishna who was asleep. Arjuna came later and sat by His foot. As soon as Krishna woke up, He saw Arjuna. He welcomed both of them. Duryodhana rushed and said, ‘Krishna! I came first. Entertain my request first!” Krishna said, “But I saw Arjuna first!” While Duryodhana was anxious about Arjuna’s request, Krishna said, ‘Two options – one: I will not touch arms, but will remain by your side. Two: I will offer all my gallantry’. Arjuna, unhesitatingly said, ‘Prabhu! You are the Jagadguru! Please be with us. That is all we want!’. Duryodhana heaved a sigh of relief and passed on the accepted all the military power of Krishna’s army. What happened eventually? All of us know that the Pandavas prevailed over the Kauravas in the battle. It was possible only due to the faith of Arjuna on his Guru, Lord Krishna. When Guru’s blessings are abundant, no harm can near, and victory is ours.
In another instance, we see that when the Kurukshetra battle was over and the Pandavas were seated around Krishna in a tent, when Draupadi said, ‘Krishna! I have a question to you! Everybody says you are ‘Aapat Bhaandava’. You rushed to Gajendra’s call. You rushed to Prahalada’s call. But, in my case, I shouted and cried for a long time, and you came in very late, when I was ill-treated in the court. What sin did I commit?’. Krishna smilingly replied, ‘Draupadi, when Duschadana wanted to remove your clothes, you did not call me first. You called your husband, the elders, the great warriors on the court, and all the brave men. Even after that, you trusted your own might and fought with Duschadana. Only at the end, when you ran out of options did you raise both your arms and called me. Did I not come then?’ Draupadi replied, ‘Krishna! I understand. I surrendered to you only as a last resort. Had I surrendered to you earlier, the story would have been different. Thus surrender to the Lord is important.”
Now, can we see Krishna? Kanchi Paramacharya says, it is not possible to see Him because Krishna denotes black. Our mind is filled with darkness. How can one see a black spot in darkness? Krishna says in Bhagavat Gita, ‘Hey Arjuna, you cannot see Me with your naked eye. I am granting you special sight to ‘see’ me’. So, its not possible to see Him with our eyes. However we can see Him in our heart. Having created the entire universe, He is hiding like a thief, nowhere else, but in our own hearts. So all we need to do is find him there – and that is Bhakti – make your heart white. This is possible only through a Guru’s blessings . ‘Gu’ denotes darkness and ‘Ru’ denotes removal. Thus Guru is indispensible to dispel the darkness.
What is the fundamental difference between Mahabharata and Ramayana, given that both Rama and Krishna are avatars of the Lord. Krishna’s avatar is a display of the Lilas, while Ramavatar is a human incarnation. It is simply impossible to impersonate Krishna, be it stealing butter, killing his demon-uncle or dancing on a snake. On the other hand, Rama lived as a truthful person, a honest husband (ekapatni vrata), obeyed his father’s word, protecting the surrenderer, being a best friend etc. Thus Krishna’s advices can be ‘heard’ and assimilated, where Rama’s life should be lived.
When Rama was informed that his coronation was being cancelled, he stood unmoved, with the same smile he sported on his face since morning – his expressions were unchanged even when he had to give up all grandeur and go to the forest. Sorrows may come but we should see them with equanimity and consider them as the grace of God.
In the Mahabharata war, no one could conquer Dronacharya. Krishna asks the Pandavas to utter a lie to fall him – and accosted Yudhishtra with this idea. Yudhishtra turns Him down, because he wouldn’t utter a lie. After Krishna’s convincing words, Yudhishtra shouts ‘Ashwattama hatah’ – in a high voice and ‘kunjarah’ in a low tone. Is it right for the Lord to be an accomplice in untruth?
Tiruvalluvar says, ‘poimaiyum vaimai idatha purai theerntha nanmai payakkum enin’ – it is okay to utter a lie if it is going to provide relief to a suffering person. A person bound to kill another, loses his target and asks you if you saw the target. You can lie there (by saying you didn’t know) because you are indeed saving a life.
Thus let us have faith in our Guru and surrender to the Lord and be thankful to our Guru for the satsangs we are enjoying.
The satsang ended with prayers with Mahamantra.