Sri Narayananji from Boston talked about the significance of Satsang.
In the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatham, the divine glories of Lord Krishna are expounded and known as Ashraya.
“dasamasya vishyudyatham navanam iha lakshanam”
The tenth canto is known as Ashreyam. Lord Krishna depicts a unique character [to name a few, compassion, love, and care for his parents] in every leela of his that is described in the tenth canto. There is one chapter which depicts the qualities of Lord Krishna as a disciple and as the Lord. That chapter is Kuchela Upakyana. In that episode, Kuchela is Lord Krishna’s childhood friend. He hails the glories of a Sadguru and he elucidates as to how Lord Krishna was himself very obedient and sincere to his sadguru, Sandeepani and then goes to show the quality of the Lord by bestowing Kuchela with wealth which Kuchela himself didn’t aspire. Before embarking on the Kuchela Upakyana, Sage Suka seeds the quality of purity on all the bhaktas.
King Parikshit says-
“Saa Vaag yayaa thasya gunan grunithae karou cha thatkarmakarou manascha |
Smaredh vansantham sthirajangamaeshu srunothi thatpunyakathaha sa karnaha ||
Sirasthu thasyobayalingamanamaethathadeva yath passyathi thatdhi yakshuhu |
Anganni vishnoratha thaj-jananam padodakam yaani bhajanthi nithyam || [10.80.3-4]
The glory of satsang is expounded in a beautiful manner. One who speaks the divine names of the Lord and sings about the glories of the Lord is known as speech. Those hands which do service to the Lord can only be called as hands. The mind can be called as one that is in constant dwelling of the Lord in all creatures. The ears are one which always wants to hear the divine names and the glories of the Lord. The head should bow to everyone both animate and inanimate creatures and thinks of everything as the image of the Lord, the eye which sees the Lord in everything and those limbs which are sprinkled with water which wash the feet of the Lord and his devotees. We are all indeed the fortunate ones to be blessed with a satsang.
Following this, Ramyaji from San Jose gave a beautiful discourse on Srimad Bhagavatam.
By the benign grace and immense compassion and mercy of our Sadguru we had yet another satsang to enjoy glories of the Lord, who is the Paramatma, Gokuleswara, Madhurathipati , Radha Kantha, and Our Takurji who is Lord Krishna himself. The cause of Bhagavatham or the reason why Srimad Bhagavatham has come to play in our hands is verily because of King Parikshit. The Lord chose a very few people and decided to bestow immense grace on them for reasons unknown to the world. Whatever the world thinks the reason could be, it is just a kalpana or assumption we should say. The most popular reason one could ever think is by the merits accrued in previous births [Puniya Pala] we are bestowed with Bhagavat Katha. Well, it is a fair assumption indeed, no doubt but Bhagavat Katha is seen superior to the state of liberation. So no amount of finite efforts can lead us to infinity. Even in math, No amount of multiplication can lead to infinity. Only from infinity, can infinity can rise. Isn’t it? Only from Poorna, Poorna can arise.
Srimad Bhagvatham is poorna [completeness] in itself. It is verily the Lord himself. The moment we realize that we got Bhagavatham in our ears, eyes in our heart, it clearly shows that is not because of one’s finite effort of the self but only due to the infinite grace of the Lord. King Parikshit was one such king, one of the few blessed ones, who was very lucky to be born in the great lineage of the Lord and so the Lord decided to somehow bestow the grace on him. The Lord had picked him right from the time he was sitting in his mother’s womb. We all know that Ashwattama [Drona’s son] had released his Brahmaastra and the Lord protected King Parikshit by himself getting into the womb of Uttara and gave the darshan of himself to King Parikshit.
The Lord protected King Parikshit with his own Sudharshan Astra [weapon] because the danger was from an Astra. The Lord uses the right instrument to protect. The danger was from an Astra, and so he used his Astra. That was the first danger King Parikhsit had in his life. The second danger that King Parikshit had was indeed his last danger in his life. Otherwise King Parikshit had a very smooth life. The last danger he faced was the curse or the Sabdha [sound], since curse is a word. Because of the curse of the Pandit, who was a great Rishi, the Lord had to counter the curse which is in form of a sound, which is in form of a word and so the Lord revealed Srimad Bhagavatham which is the Sabdhamaya Sarira to counter the Sabdha of the Rishi. Beautiful isn’t it?
To counter the words of one Rishi, he sent another Rishi, Suka Muni to protect King Parikshit. The first protection the Lord gave him was a temporary one. His darshan protected him temporarily but Bhagavatha Katha protected him permanently. That is the power of Satsang.
The Lord has infused all his glories and grace into Bhagavatha Katha. So King Parikshit is naturally grateful to Bhagawan. Gratitude is the first step to love. Gratitude is the first step to selflessness. Unless we are grateful to something, we cannot be selfless. Mind exists within us would always want a fruit for its labor. But if we are indebted to somebody, then whatever we do is repaying the wonderful favor he did for us. So without gratitude Karma Yoga is not really possible. One can’t do anything without result unless one does it with gratitude.
King Parikshit owed his very life to Bhagawan. He would have been born as a still born baby but for Lord’s divine intervention and protection. So King Parikshit was waiting all his life to listen to the stories of the Lord to be revealed to him. He was waiting for somebody to narrate the stories of Lord Krishna. He had a long wait. Finally when the curse came, he used the excuse of the curse to relinquish everything. He said “I don’t want to be the King any longer”, and nobody could ever stop him. Because I have only seven more days to live and I don’t want to waste the precious days in ruling the kingdom. He crowned his son Janamayjaya and decided to spend his seven days in a more fruitful way. He thought that the milestone of Dharma, Artha, and Kama is over and that he was ready for the final destination which is Moksha. So he went to the banks of Ganga praying to the Lord and said, “Oh Lord Krishna, You protected me once from death and this time also I am praying to you to protect me. Last time also I did not call you my Lord and this time also I don’t think I need to call you”. He knew it very well, because he was one of the chosen few that the Lord picked to shower his grace. Bhaktas are of two types or rather Bhakti starts by we catching hold of the Lord and it culminates when the Lord catches hold of us. When we catch hold of the Lord, our grip may not be very tight it can slip. Slip in Sanskrit is ‘chyutam’, but Lord’s grip on us can never slip and that is why it is called as achutam. He does not allow it to slip. But to get into Lord’s grip is a little difficult and is indeed rare. But the moment we get into Lord’s grip he never ever forsakes us.
When we listen to Srimad Bhagavatham, we somehow get into his grip. King Parikshit was so sure that the Lord will find a way to protect him. He was not worried about dying in seven days. He never prayed to the other Rishis out there to protect his life. But he prayed for the life that he lived to be indeed fruitful.
Thus, he was sitting there with all earnestness. When the flower is ready the bee has to come isn’t it. That is the miracle of nature. Bee travels miles to come to this wonderful lotus to drink its honey. Doesn’t it? So King Parikshit was ready and a Guru found him. A guru found him because Suka Muni was also waiting to give the wonderful Bhagavatha Shaastra to somebody. In Bhakti nobody does it alone. Ekantha bhakti means not doing Bhakti alone but is collecting our love and showering it on one deity of our choice. We collect all our love and can only shower it on one. So if we understand Ekantha Bhakti we can then understand the devotees of Lord Krishna. If you are a devotee of Lord Krishna, do you know where you will get the bhakti from? It is from Vaishnava’s paaada rajas. From the dust of the feet of the mahatmas can one get bhakti. Srimad Bhagavatham says, Vaishnavanam yatha sambhuhu. Ambarisha was a Bhagavatha, Dhurvasa was a great sage. He wanted to reveal the greatness of a Bhgavatha and so he did a small play. He lowered his stature to show Ambarisha his greater height. Do you think Dhurvasa was really angry with AMbarisha? When we read Bhagavatham, we can never hate anybody. We would respect Dhurvasa more than Ambarisha because in Bhagavatham it is said,
“Sakshath dhurvasa bhagawan aboot” – Is Dhurvasa a muni? No, Is he a Rishi No. ‘Dhurvasa Bhagawanaboot’. Dhurvasa came there to show the greatness of a bhagavatha. To show what happens when you do Bhagavatha Apachara. So Ekaantha Bhakti does not give any liberty to do Ninda or abuse other deities, no real lover of Lord Krishna would ever do that. But Ekantha Bhakti is supreme. One has the Sakshatkaara or Krishna Anubhava because they performed Ekantha Bhakti. Anybody who had Shiva Shakshatkara is because they had Ekantha Shiva Bhakti.
Sri Thiagraja was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. Our Swamiji says in one of the kirtans composed by him he sings, “ Suka noothaya deena bhaktavae namo namo”
Sri Thiagarajar is not talking about Lord Krishna here. He refers to Suka Muni here. He came and gave all us the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatham. The same Suka also said that there is no body equal to or greater than Lord Rama. SO Sri Thiagarajar caught that part and proclaimed that Suka Muni also celebrated his Lord Rama”. That verily depicts the heart of a Bhakta.
SO here King Parikshit is waiting for Sage Suka to lecture on Krishna Katha. Suka talked about solar and lunar dynasties from the ninth canto. Ambarisha charithra,Rama katha, Rantideva’s Charithra and other great people’s life history. It was actually getting a little late for him. It was already past four days. King Parikshit was sitting all the time with rapt attention. He did not even ask for a minute’s break to get a glass of water. So Sage Suka thought may be King Parikshit needed a break. SO he started off and told him that he was going to the lineage of Lord Krishna and in about ten to twelve slokas he gave a very concise story of Lord Krishna. He said that the Lord was born in Mathura, then he moved to Brindavan, He again moved to Mathura and ruled in Dwaraka , Discoursed on Geetopadesha in Kurukshetra and Sage Suka concluded that Krishna Katha was complete [ sampoornam].
Hearing this King Parikshit, said, “Oh! Sage Suka Muni, I was waiting for the past four days to hear to Krishna Katha and it is like the golden plate sprinkled with rose water and with some little sugar. King Parikshit added, “ Do you think I don’t deserve Krishna katha? Or do you think I am getting tired? How can I ever get tired? When you are giving Amrutham through your divine lips? He questioned Sage Sukha.
“chytham hari katham mrudham” the Amrutham is slipping out of your lips and I am drinking the Amrutham and how can I ever feel hungry or thirsty? Added King PArikshit
He says “Kathitho vamsa vistaarah bhavatha soma suryayoho “
You told me about solar and lunar dynasties. He further added that they are all very good but said that it was not enough for him. He wanted to know Krishna Katha, He told Sage Suka that he has heard lot about Krishna Katha, but since Sage Suka being an authority of Krishna katha, King Parikshit told him that he was waiting to listen from him.
He didn’t stop there. He continued and said that there is another reason why he was asking for Krishna Katha.
“Nivritha darshai upa kiya manathu
Bhava oushadaatha stotra mano bi ramathu
King Parikshit said, “Suka Muni,You are a Jnani and I know that the indication of a Jnani is Krishna bhakti. Since you are a jnani “nivritha darshai”, it is your very nature of the Jnani to sing Krishna Leela and why are you going against your nature now?
Krishna katha is the very medicine and is the cure for all ailments. [ “Bava Oushadatha stotra”] . It is a lovable medicine. It is the medicine for all the tension, trouble, ego or whatever is there in the heart. But apart from all that it is “stotra mano bi ramathu”. It is so sweet to listen to.
Even when one gives some dance performance, the best part would be when someone gives a dance on Krishna leela. Theeradha vilaytu pillai or thayae yashoda. Those would be the ones crowning the entire performance. It gives immense bliss instantly when one hears the name gopala, Krishna.
Ka uttama sloka gunanu vadathu
Puman virajyeta vinaa pashugnathu
King Parikshit continued. “Oh! Sage Suka do you think I am such a big sinner? I just made one little mistake in my life. I garlanded a Sage. That’s all I did. Unfortunately the only garland I could locate was a snake. For that small mistake, do you think I deserve a big punishment [dandhana]? I don’t think it is proportional? You know why? The moment I saw you, you know what you told me? “
“Kirtha hoona andra pulindhaa pulkasaam….’
All the hunting clans who does not belong to the civilized society, get purified in a fraction of a second when they come into a sadhu sang. King Parikshit was sitting there for four days now. He said to Sage Suka that even if he had been the foremost sinner, by the divine connections with him, he is made pure now. And so he said that he was ready for Krishna katha.
Suka Muni smiled. He was always smiling. He is a Jnani. So he thought that he had to fortify his grace even more. The take away point is that it was difficult even for Parikshit to get to hear to the divine glories of Lord Krishna from Sage Suka.
King PArikshit continued, “Oh Sage Suka, I have a personal reason”. Lord Krishna protected my entire family. He was part of my family. He told him that he was asking for his family heritage. It is Lord Krishna who saved my father, my grandfather, my great grandfathers, he added. He saved me “Madangam”.
King Parikshit patted his body and said he protected this body [madangam]
Suka Muni gave the life-history [charitra] of great saints [jnanis]. He discoursed about body being different and soul is different. He talked about not to focus on the body and after hearing all this Parikshit is said madangam. Parikshit said that Lord Krishna saved his body. Is it right? If this body has any connection to the Lord then it becomes holy. Then we should take care of it. If this body is seen as something that is protected and is being taken care by the Lord, then it means it is Lord’s property and it is our duty to take care of the body. Do we see how bhaktas see their body [sarira poshana]? Taking care of the body is the wealth of bhagwan and how can I neglect it said King PArikshit. A bhakta may not observe too many fast and putting the body to trouble. Gopis tried to do it.
In Tiruppavai, “Nei unnom pal unnom” The moment the Lord heard it, he immediately came down as their guard. Nandababa himself sent Lord Krishna to guard the Gopis who were observing the fast [nombu] . Nandababa requested Lord Krishna to make sure to take them safely to the river and bring them back, and the Gopis thought that even before they started the fast [nombu], they have already reaped the fruit. That is what is called as thaksshanathu. Even before we started to listen to Bhagavatam, the Lord comes to reside in our heart at once.
And so King Parikshit told Suka Muni that he was alive for one reason only. The only purport was to listen to Krishna katha. So he requested him to discourse on the glories of Lord Krishna.
King Parikshit finally told Sage Suka that the same Krishna who is within and outside , the one who is present all over the universe , and who is verily known to be the absolute Brahman, and whose story he desired to listen.
As soon as Parikshit said this, Suka Muni started to talk. The balance has to be somewhere there. Parikshit was not saying that he was waiting to hear to his uncles’ story [ katha]. He told him that he desired to hear to the Lord of the universe’s story. May be Suka was waiting for it.
“Smyak vyavasita buddih tava rajarshi sattama”
Sage Suka told him that he will not call him king [rajanu] anymore. The new title that Sage Suka conferred on Parikshit after he asked that question was Rajarshi.
The same title Vishwamitra took years and years to get Parikshit got by asking a simple question, please tell Krishna katha. That is what is called thakshanath.
He became Rajasrshi even before he heard Krishna katha because he had “yajjatha naishtiki rathihi” he had the desire, yearning to listen to Krishna katha.
When we want to listen to bhagavatam, it does not matter if we listen fully or not, that intention to listen to the Lord’s glories reaps the fruit, because of the very fact that the Lord is very compassionate.
“Elluna yennai nu solluvom” Even before we start doing an activity the Lord sends the fruits. The moment you decide to listen to Srimad Bhagavatham, he is verily residing it our hearts.
And here Suka Muni said, “I thought Parikshit, you would be a little tired now I see you are ready for Krishna katha. And you know what you asked a beautiful question. It is going to purify me also”.
If somebody says please tell Krishna katha or arrange for a Krishna katha he gets purified. If somebody is telling Krishna katha he gets absolved. If somebody is listening to Krishna katha he gets purified. And the example used to substantiate is Ganga. The river that originated from toe nail, when one bathes in Ganga we get purified, people who see people bathed in Ganga get purified and last but not the least if somebody says go to Ganga and take a bath “andaneyam kai kaati” he also gets purified. If somebody gives us ten dollars to board a train to help us take bath in Ganga, he also gets purified.
Likewise Srimad Bhagavatham, one who listens, vakta (Shrota and Vakta) and also one who encourages us to listen to Srimad Bhagavatham all get instantly purified. Senanayi had the darshan of Panduranga after the ruler of the land who employed him had the darshan. It was verily because the ruler gave him the provision to do Krishna Bhajans at peace. So he reaped the first benefit.
The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.