This lecture by Sri Ramanujamji was to remember the greatness of Srimada Bhagavatam and the uniqueness of the path of Bhagavata Dharma.
A great sage of Pandarpur in Maharashtra, Sant Tukkaram conveys something that is indeed unique. He conveys that the sages, who are the divine souls and who have incarnated to spread the fragrance of love towards the divine are all the very shadow of the Lord himself. For normal souls it is very arduous to understand the heart of the Lord. It is indeed very baffling to even visualize the actions of the Lord for the mundane people. But if one observes a saint with devotion, then we can get an idea of the divine. The saints are verily the shadows of the divine.
Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita and in Srimad Bhagavatam uses the word “Guhyam” very often. The word Guhyam translates to secret. In the ninth chapter of Bhagavad Gita, which is “Raja Vidhya- Raja GuhyaYogam”, he actually uses the word Guhyam in the very first stanza.
“idam tutae guhytamam pravakshyamy anasuyavae”
He says something very interesting. “Oh Arjuna. I am going to tell you the supreme profound secret. I am disclosing this to you because you don’t have the attitude of jealousy [anasuyaha]. So you qualify to learn the secret. A person bereft of jealousy is called “Nirmatsara” and hence he has minimal or no ego at all.”
Saints are the shadows of the divine. The supreme secret is very simple and pragmatic. We normally expect the secret to be arduous and testing the power of endurance in one. But the supreme secret yet profound is what Bhagavad Gita is what is repeatedly expounded in the eighteenth chapter of Bhagavad Gita. It is also seen in the ninth chapter of Bhagavad Gita.
“Manmana bhava madbhakto madyaji mamm namaskuru”
“Mamevaisyasi yuktvaivamatmanam matpraayanah”
The Lord says “Oh Arjuna! Fix your mind on me. Be my devotee. Perform all your actions as a joyous offering to me. Salute me with reverence. Take me as your ultimate goal. Have your mind completely aligned to me. After doing all this, how can you then attain anything or anybody but me Oh Arjuna!”. This is the supreme secret. Great saints like Sant Namadev were able to decipher this and follow this principle without studying the scriptures.
So the supreme secret is simple. It is to have Lord Sri Krishna as the center of our lives. So now why is the Lord calling it as a supreme secret? It is because Arjuna did not possess the attitude of jealousy. The Lord can tolerate any bad behavior [negativity] in one but not jealousy. If we take Srimad Bhagavatam, the word Nirmatsara is used. Nirmatsara translates to jealousy. Srimad Bhagavatam is for people who are bereft of jealousy.
“Srimad Bhagavatam puranam ammalam yath vaishnavanam priyam”
It is also called as a secret [ guhya ] purana. Why is it so? Why is the supreme truth linked to lack of jealousy? It is very simple. Let’s take an example. A person is progressing in an arduous spiritual path which requires stringent steps that he needs to adhere and accommodate in his daily life-style. In this fast faced life, he is also very much aware that such hard steps are difficult to follow. He however looks at another spiritual aspirant who makes no change in his life-style and always sings the Divine Names of the Lord and reminisce his divine glories and enjoys the grace of his guru. The former naturally tends to become jealous by looking at the latter since, the latter reaches the holy feet of the Lord without much hard-work.
“kshipram bhavati dharmatma sasvacchantim nigacchati”
The Lord accepts a devotee as he is. If at all his devotee is not in the righteous path, it is up to the Lord to correct him.
Lord Sri Krishna has promised Arjuna that devotees who sing his kirtans and his glories, for people who completely rely on the Lord for their spitirual end in their spiritual path, Oh Arjuna, they should be regarded as saints for they have taken the right resolve. That is the very reason why Lord Krishna does not want to disclose the supreme secret to everyone.
There are infinite ways to infinite bliss. For people who want to make their life more complicated and dreary, I have shown them different ways, the Lord says. And that is the very reason he does not want to disclose the supreme secret to everybody. People who are on Lord Krishna’s side would accept life as it is. They would attribute the events in their family as well as in the world as Lord Krishna’s play. For that ardent devotee, the Lord will shower his grace all the time. When the devotee approaches the devotee, the Lord approaches his devotee. This is the crux of Bhagavata Dharma.
“Nirmatsaranam satam” – Srimad Bhagavatam starts off by saying that it is for people who are devoid of jealous [nirmatsara]. In the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam it is said that even if one approves of Bhagavata Dharma even without acquiring the knowledge completely.
One should accept the simple fact that it is Lord Krishna who is running this whole world and who is also managing individual’s life. So for the Lord it is indeed not difficult to bestow one with liberation. SO all one has to do is to perform deeds that charm the Lord.
The easy and pragmatic way to please the Lord is to chant His Divine Names and hear His glories by joining a satsang and by performing a loving service to him. Respect all paths and admire all people but adopt the simplest path of Bhagavata Dharma. It is very essential to understand that the Lord has given million paths to attain him. One should understand that we been bestowed with the simplest path. With that gratitude and love in our mind and by incessant chanting the Divine Names of the Lord, attaining the lotus feet of Lord Krishna is indeed simple.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives us a simple formula. If we want help from Lord Krishna, then we need to say the word “HELP”.
Là Lowliness – It stands for respect for everybody and thinking about insignificance which is lowering oneself.
Pà Politeness. Having universal respect to all paths and to everyone is very essential. One needs to admire the unity in diversity and aim for uniformity. Unity is universal acceptance and seeing divinity everywhere. Uniformity is brutally forcing everyone to follow one path. Bhagavata Dharma is not about uniformity but only appreciating the unity in diversity.
So when we incessantly chant the divine names of the Lord and also remember the four tricks (HELP), then one is sure to get the Lord’s grace immediately.
So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, if you want immediate help, then the elixir is to say the word “HELP” and also chant the divine names of the Lord.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says –
“Thrunathapi Sunnechena tharorapi sahishnuna”
“Amanina manadena kirthaniya sada harih”
Let’s see the beautiful meaning for the above sloka. “Thrunathapi sunnechena” translates that one should learn humility from a blade of grass. The incarnation of Lord Krishna teaches simple truths. Let’s reminisce on one such act of humility from Lord Krishna’s incarnation. This incident happened in Hastinapura, and a great spiritual austerity called “Raja Suya Yagna” was being performed. This great sacrifice was being attended by all kings, emperors and ministers. A chosen few were contemplating as to who would be the chief guest of the whole event and it was unanimously decided that Lord Sri Krishna would preside over the function. Where do you think Lord Krishna was doing when everybody was searching for him? He was standing at the entrance where this great spiritual austerity was being performed and he was washing the feet of the guests at the entrance. Were the guests Sadhus, Mahans or realized souls? Not at all. They were ordinary kings who were considered the elite society but not in the spiritual world. Why did he do this? Because of the immense love he had for Yudistira, the other Pandavas and Kunti. When the Lord is beholden by love, he won’t know his stature, forgets his great personality and becomes so simple and humble.
That’s why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advices everyone to be humble akin to a blade of grass. When a piece of slab is placed on top of the grass, it tries to grow on the sides of the slab and not by piercing through the concrete. It slowly finds space in between the slab and starts to grow in between the slabs without creating any disturbance to the slab. When there is a heavy downpour, an oak tree can be easily uprooted since it is resisting the storm, but the little grass bends down and respects the storm and lifts its head once the storm is over. Nobody can pluck a grass during a storm because it is humbled during the storm. When our Lord Krishna shows so much humility, where are we?
Don’t cherry-pick when doing a service. For the divine name chanting to take immediate effect, one needs to be humble like a blade of grass. We can get help when we remember the first letter “H à Humility” of the word “HELP”.
Then comes “Tharorapi shahishnuna, here “tharu” means tree and “shahishnuna” means Endurance” See how enduring a tree is. Infact our Lord teaches this concept to all his beautiful friends in brindavan. The Lord takes all his eight friends [sakas] for a stroll in the forest. So as they were the midst of the forest, they came across an orchard. It was filled with trees yielding fruits. Later all these little boys started to pelt the trees with stones and the tree filled the hands of these young boys with fruits. Tree has responded to the provocation by these little friends and bestowed them with fruits.
“Hey Amsho Sridaman…subala arjuna vishaala rishaba tejasvin devaprastha varoothapa “
Lord Sri Krishna calls his eight friends and shows them the beautiful nature of the tree. Look at how it is serving the entire human kind. He advised his friends to constantly do good deeds to others through their life, wealth, intellect and speech.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says one should not have a neutral endurance, but a kind endurance when provoked. He then goes to say “Amanina which means don’t expect any respect from the world. “Manadena” means respecting every path and every spiritual austerity, paying due respect to every dharma. One should not expect any respect but we should respect everybody. What a nice message!
If one possesses all the above mentioned qualities and does incessant chanting of the divine names of the Lord, he is sure to attain the holy feet of Lord Krishna. One gets the realization of the divine very quickly.
If we chant the Divine Names without possessing the above mentioned qualities, then it is the Lord who will make one humble, enduring and make one not expect any respect from others and make one completely polite and respect every creature in this world and he would eventually be a dharmatma.
The three dimensions of Bhagavata Dharma are Bhakti (love), Jnana (divine wisdom) and Vairagya (dispassion). Chanting the Divine Names is absolutely enough to being an individual to the state of completely realizing these three dimensions of Bhagavata Dharma. Hence it is called as a supreme secret.
Bhagavata Dharma is so simple and so we very easily miss the obvious idea. It is so direct that the mind cannot understand. Bhagavata Dharma is all about placing Lord Krishna in the center of our heart, dispelling the ego centric thoughts of our thoughts and actions. In order to get into this mode, one should perform incessant chanting of the divine names of the Lord. Bhagavata Dharma is all about the Lord coming to us instead of we going to the Lord. Such is the simplicity and directness of this path.
The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.