It is said that any thing in this world has a percentage of the three qualities: the Rajas, the Tamas and the Sattva. There is one state beyond these three qualities. That is Nirguna. That state of Nirguna is no different from our Lord Sri Hari’s state. Sri Ramakrishna says that there are three things in this world that can be equated to Nirguna, even though they exist in this earth. The first one is the Ganges water. The second is the Rajas of Brindavan and the third is the Prasad of Puri Kshetra Kshera.
Srimad Bhagavatam goes one step further…
Let’s substantiate this with an example. Spicy food can be termed as rajasika. Any food that induces laziness and drowsiness is tamasika. Healthy food is rajasika. The Lord says that any food that is being offered to him is Nirguna!
Any place that is filled with heated and animated discussions is filled with Rajo guna. A place where there is gambling exhibits tamo guna. A place where there are healthy discussions has saatvik guna. The Lord says, “maa mandiram nirgunam” – The place where I am worshipped is Nirguna.
The Lord in the Eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam enlists things that have these qualities, and states how, when they get connected to Him, they become Nirguna.
Our Uddhava Swami says that he is not affected by any of the three qualities since he partakes the Prasad of the lord and hence is not deluded by Maya.
‘Ucchishta bhojino daasaam tava maaya jayemahi’.
Offering everything to the Lord and perceiving everything as the Lord’s Lila is the easiest way to not get trapped in Maya says Uddhava in Srimad Bhagavatam. The easiest way to accomplish this is by believing that everything happens per the Lord’s will and that all the jivas are characters of a play that is being directed by the Lord.
After the introductions, Sri Narayanaswamyji from Seatlle shared some interesting incidents from the life-history of Mahatmas.
In the life of Shirdi Sai Baba, there was a disciple of Shirdi Sai, by name Radhe Krishna Maayi who used to cook food for her Guru. She used to cook the food in a vaada and then bring it to the mosque. One day when she was cooking, she was not able to be on time to feed her Guru since she was preparing a lot of delicious dishes. A dog came and stood in front of her. She threw a piece of bread on the starving dog and he ate it with relish. After she finished cooking the food, she brought the food to the mosque to serve Baba. She requested everyone to come and have lunch. As soon as she made this request, she saw Baba belching and he told her that he was not hungry since he just finished eating. She was taken aback since she normally serves lunch to Baba. Upon enquiry, he told her that few minutes ago he was very hungry and that he stopped at her home and ate the bread that she threw at the ‘him’. He told her that he indeed came in the guise of the dog. Hearing that, she fell at his feet and asked to pardon him for her act. She pleaded to him that she didn’t realize that he had come in the guise of a dog.
Another wonderful incident occurred at Shirdi. There came a country-cart and stopped in front of the mosque. A tiger was on the cart, fastened with chains and its keepers were taking it from place to place and earned money by exhibiting it. It was the means of their sustenance. The cart finally stopped at the mosque. When both Baba and the tiger saw each other, it got on the step and looked at Baba with affection. Immediately it moved the tuft of its tail and dashed it four times against the ground and then fell down senseless. Seeing it dead its keepers were first much dejected and enquired about the tiger’s death to Baba. Baba told them that tiger was a human in its previous birth and cheated everyone. Baba continued that the tiger was the keepers’ debtor as well in the previous birth and that the debt was paid off to them in this birth. The last chunk of dues was cleared off in Shirdi and the tiger who was a human in his previous birth desired to die in front of a Mahatma in his next birth. His wish came true and in this birth the tiger met its end at Shirdi Baba’s Feet.
One day Baba and his devotee were taking a stroll on the banks of a rivulet. An unusual sight caught their eyes. A frog was croaking in the mouth of a snake which was ready to devour the frog. Shirdi Baba on seeing this, immediately called out, “Oh Veerabadra, please leave Besappa. Do not fight with him in this birth as well.” On hearing this, the snake dropped the frog from its mouth and both of them left that place. The devotee spellbound after witnessing this incident enquired about Veerabadra and Besappa to Baba. Baba clarified that those were the names of the frog and the snake in their past birth. They were enemies in their last birth and that continued in this birth as well!
Let’s take another incident from the Kanchi Mahaperiava Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal’s life history. There was a dog that lived in the Kanchi mutt and the dog would take part in the Chandramoulishwara pooja that Maha Periyavaal performed daily. After the pooja was over, he would partake the Prasad that was offered. He used to follow the Sage’s palanquin and He would fondly enquire his devotees about the dog.
There was once an elephant, by name Keshava who used to accompany Maha Periyavaal and his entourage. One night when Maha Periyavaal and his devotees were camping in a place called Bokkai near Nagari in Tamil Nadu. Keshava was tied to a hut. That night the hut caught fire and the elephant somehow managed to escape and immediately went and quenched his fire burns in a nearby river. The retinue of Maha Periyavaal tried to find Keshava and pleaded him to come out of the pond but he refused. They informed Maha Periyavaal about this and he himself decided to go to the pond to bring Keshava. When he reached the pond, he called out ‘Keshava’ and the elephant came out of the pond and showed the fire burns to Maha Periyavaal. Maha Periyavaal told him that the fire burns were due to the demerits in his previous birth!
If we take the life-history of Ramana Maharishi, there was a cow, by name Lakshmi who lived in the ashram of Bhagavan Ramana. It was a practice that only Ramana would feed the cow daily. One day, the devotees caught sight where Ramana and the cow were together, with both their faces touching each other and with their eyes closed. Their eyes were closed for about an hour and a half. Once Ramana opened their eyes, the devotees enquired as to why both of them closed their eyes. Ramana replied that both of them were in Samadhi!
The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.