Apr 30: Vritrasura’s Bhakti

30 Apr

One of the leelas of Lord Krishna is damodara Leela. Sri Suka is surprised as to how Yashoda succeeds in tying the Lord who is verily the representation of the Brahman to a mortar. However when the Lord went as a messenger to the Kaurava army to convey the message from Dharmaputra, Duryodhana tried to secure the Lord. The Lord showed his colossal form to Duryodana and belittled him.  This is in comparison as to how the Lord surrendered Himself to Yashoda. Our Guru Maharaj says that one can win the Lord by virtue of love and that the Lord will not yield to anything else. In the same Damodara Leela, it is seen as to how the Lord goes in between two Arjuna trees and rescued Nalakubara and Manigreeva the sons of Kubera by breaking the trees apart with the mortar. After being rescued by the Lord, Nalakubara and Manigreeva do a wonderful stuthi. In the stuthi, they first thank the Lord for liberating them from the curse of Sage Narada. Sage Narada had earlier cursed them that they will be born as trees in Gokula and that they will be eventually freed by Lord Krishna himself. Then they have a prayer for the Lord –

“Vani gunanu kathanae shravanau kathayam”
“Hasthou cha karma sumanas thava paada yonaha”
“Smrithyam sirasthava ivaasa jagat pranamae”
“Drishti satam darshanaestu Bhavath thanunnam”
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The reason for the Lord to bestow one with voice is to verily sing his glories and the ears that e has gifted everyone should be used to only hear his stories [shravanam kataayam]. Hands should be suitably used to do service to the Lord and to his great devotees [Bhagavatas]. The foot is to be used to visit the temples. The eyes should be used to see his beautiful form. Nalakubara and Manigriva earnestly prayed to the Lord to bestow them to use the senses for doing service to the Lord.

Following the introductions, Aravindji from Orlando gave a beautiful talk.

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Sri Krishna mentioned four types of devotees who perform bhakti to him.

chaturvidha bhajante mam janah sukrtinorjuna
arto jijnasur-artharthi jnani cha bharatarshabha

Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna, and they are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O Lord of the Bharatas.

The first of the kind is Arthis. They are the ones who are distressed in lives and have afflictions. They pray to the Lord to absolve all their problems. The second clan of people is the Jijnasus. They are the ones who always have a quest to attain Jnana. They offer their prayers to the Lord to bestow them with Jnana. The third faction of people is the ones who are not contended with their wealth and pray to the Lord to be bestowed with more riches. The fourth class of people is indeed the rarest of all. They are the Mahans [jnanis]. They have realized that there is nothing outside the Lord and everything is verily the Lord.

There is a sloka in Bhagavad Gita that says “Vasudeva sarvam iti”. In Srimad Bhagavatam there are so many references to Bhagvathas. They are indeed the ones dear to the Lord. Bhagavathotama is the one who is constantly remembered by the Lord.

Vrithrasura was born out as a result of sacrifice [Yagna]. His only intent in life was to kill Lord Indra. Lord Indra had committed a great injustice by killing Vishwaroopa. So Vishwaroopa’s father had made sure that he completed the sacrifice and out came Vrithrasura out of the sacrifice.

As expected Lord Indra was not able to confront Vritrasura by himself. He went to a great sage who was called as Dadichi and requested for his back-bone. Sages who are compassion-personified gave away his back-bone and with that Indra made a weapon called “Vajrayuda” and with this weapon he went to accost Vrithrasura. As Indra and Vrithrasura were facing each other. On seeing Indra, he just laughed and said, “Oh Indra, Do you think I am a coward and will run away?  Oh! not at all. There is the Almighty who is very compassionate and he knows how to take our lives, he added. Vrithrasura continued,  “Oh Indra, You are not fit to even stand in front of me. You have committed a great sin by slaying my guru Vishwaroopa. What harm did he do to you”, questioned Vritrasura.

It is destined that you will kill me and it will happen that way, said Vrithrasura.  But, he requested Indra to wait as he had to complete his morning prayers. It was not a long drawn pooja routine. He had just four Slokas which he recited every morning. However, he did not disclose his prayers. Prayers done with love are not normally boasted about.

Oh my Lord, Let me always be in your service. If I am not able to be in your service then please bless to be in the service of your greatest devotees. If I am not fortunate enough to be in the association of your greatest devotees, then let me be in the divine satsang of their devotees (dasanudasa). When I am in the service of all your devotees, then I offer my body, mind and thoughts unto you.

And then in his second sloka, he says, let me always be in contact with you.

Na naga prushtam nacha parameshtyam nasarvabhaumam narasadhipathyam
Nayoga siddhir apunarbhavam samanjasatva virahaiya kaankshe || (6:11:25)

If you offer me anything that removes the contact with you, then I don’t need it even if it is the greatest heaven.  Lord Indra was totally awed at the devotion to Lord by an Asura.

Thondaradi Podiazhwar sings in Tirumalai.

pachai mAmalai pOl mEni, pavaLa vAi, kamala chengaNN,
achyuthA amarar ErE, Ayartham kozhundhE ennum,
ichuvai thavira yAn pOi indhira lokam ALum –
achuvaiperinum vEndEn arangamA nagaruLAnE!

ThondaradippodiAzhvAr, says  “Oh Lord Ranganatha, I am captivated by your beauty of your lustrous body [thirumeni] and even if you bestow me with Vaikunta, I would not prefer it. He says in the above hymn that he would like to live in Srirangam and enjoy the beauty of Lord Ranganatha. ThondaradippodiAzhvAr’s devotion and bhakti [love for the Lord] is akin to the bhakti of Vritrasura. These Bhagavatotamas don’t pray anything for themselves and only want to be in the vicinity of the Lord always.

One such Bhagavata is Sant Namadev- with whom the Lord played His leelas in the holy city of Pandarpur.  He grew up with a childhood friend who came to be known as ‘Sparshakall Bhagavatar’ in his later years.  Sparshakall is a touch-stone (a sorcerer’s stone) and it transforms any object into gold.  This friend of Namdev was conferred this title ‘Sparsha kaal Bhagavatar’ because he transformed any ignoble person by his mere touch into a very noble person. Sant Namdev and Sparshakall Bhagavatar were constantly immersed in the Divine Name chanting of the Lord in Rangasheela facing the Maha Yoga Peeta of Lord Panduranga in Pandarpur. But in the heart of hearts, Sparshakall Bhagavatar had a small doubt and he slowly started to feed that doubt and then it became to grow since he started to feed that doubt.

We as human beings have faults in all of us. Instead of dwelling on our ignorance, we should light the lamp of Nama. Sparshakall Bhagavatar perceived that people in Pandarpur were full of misery. He concluded that people who were devoted to Lord Panduranga whereas people who worshipped Goddess Saraswati were indeed very happy and prosperous.  So he slowly started to do austerities for Goddess Lakshmi and soon he was bestowed with a touch stone that would turn any piece of iron into gold. In due course of time, Sparshakall Bhagavatar’s wife was adorned in gold jewels and they were very prosperous.

Namdev’s wife and Sparshakall Bhagavatar’s wife were friends and they used to accompany each other to get water from a nearby well. One day, Rajayi, Namdev’s wife enquired as to how they enquired so much wealth. She mentioned about the touch stone and immediately Rajayi requested if she could have it for a day. Sparshakall Bhagavatar’s immediately gave it to her without any hesitation. Rajali took it to her home and she turned some iron pieces into gold and she used that gold to feed her kids and to buy some new clothing to her kids.

In the evening when Namdev returned home, he was surprised to see his kids wearing new clothes and enquired about it to his wife. She narrated the whole incident and upon hearing it, he went to Chandrabhaga river and threw the Sparshakall.

In the mean time, Sparshakall Bhagavatar’s wife was getting a little nervous since Rajayi had not returned the touch stone.  Her husband returned home in the night and enquired about the touch stone and she told that she had loaned it to Namdev’s wife and that she had not returned it.

So he set out to Namdev’s house and asked about the touch stone in a vehement manner to Namdev. Namdev very politely enquired as to why he was not coming regularly for the bhajans. But he did not pay any attention to Namdev and kept on only asking about the touch stone. Namdev immediately took him to Chandrabhaga river and jumped into nthe river and he came out with many touch stones in his hand. Seeing this, the Bhagavatar was so ashamed and feel at the feet of Namdev pleading for pardon.

We thus see a parallel between Vrithrasura, Thondaradipodiazhwar and Namdev. Vrithrasura in the following slokas says – “

Ajatha pakshad iva maataram khagah stanyam yata  vatsadhara ksudhartha: |
Priyam priyeva vyushitam vishanna Manoravindaasksha didrukshate tvaam” || (6:11:25)

In this sloka, he says, “Oh Lord, Take me unto you akin to how a small bird is being taken care by its mother bird, a calf craving for the love of its mother-cow and a fiancee waiting to join her fiance. A bird does not how to fly. Akin to this is a bhakta who cannot bear the separation of the Lord but doesn’t know how to reach the Lord. The bhakta says “Oh I cannot do penance like Dhruva, I cannot think of leading a life like Bheeshmacharya, I cannot be a sathya shanda like Harischandra.

His last sloka has a very deeper meaning. He knows that it is not easy to get the divine company of the Lord. So he says,

“Mamottama sloka janeshu sakyam samsara chakre bramtah smakarmabi: |
Tvan maayayaatmatmaja daara geheshu Asakta chityasa na naatha bhooyaat”

He says,”Oh Lord I know that I am caught deep inside the ocean of Samsara from which it is not very easy to be absolved. If at all you are an epitome of compassion then may I request you to do one thing? Please put me amidst a group of devotees in a satsang.

Vrithrasura beautifully teaches us the virtue of patience. Akin to how a bird waits for its mother to come and akin to how a fiancé waits for her lover even though this lover . The fiancé unlike the bird the bird who cannot go anywhere in search of its mother, can go out and search his lover, but she waits since her lover has told her that he would definitely come. Similarly the true devotees of the Lord wait patiently for the Lord to bestow their grace on him.

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

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