May 28: Nava Yogi Upakhyana – 2

28 May

The term Acharya connotes someone who is more than a guru and the  Supreme in Acharya is called as Paramacharya. The prime reason for a Guru acquiring an individual’soul is to subdue his ego and take him unto to the holy feet of the Lord. It is evident from the life of Paramacharya who is omniscient; the quality of humility has been his hallmark. His vast knowledge was used in the right path to subdue the ego of his devotees and thereby taking them to the holy feet of the Lord.

Paramacharya used to camp in Satara in Maharashtra. On one such visit, Mahaswami was enclosed by a gate made out of palm leaves. When it was time for darshan, he used to remove this gate and bless his devotees with his divine darshan. There lived a devotee of Paramacharya, who was proficient in playing veena. Hearing Paramacharya’s visit to Satara, he came to visit him. He desired to play veena in front of Periyava, the great master. It is to be told that Paramacharya was adept in all arts and fine-arts. There were crores of people waiting to have darshan of the mahan. After sometime, the veena player managed to have the darshan of Mahaperiyava. Upon having darshan, he requested the Mahaswami if he could play a small piece on his veena. Mahaperiyava agreed and he started to play. His performance was great and everyone in the crowd liked it very much. There was a brief silence following this and then Mahaswamiji picked up the Veena and played a small piece. Sri Swamiji’s performance was even better than the Veena player. After Sri Swamiji completed the performance, the Veena player’s eyes were inundated with tears. He immediately prostrated unto the holy feet of MahaSwamiji and kept on prostrating unto Him again and aagain. Maha Swamiji looked at him and he did not utter a word. After a while, Maha Swamiji went inside. Everyone witnessed the whole scene and nobody knew what was happening. When the Veena player stepped out, some of the devotees of Maha Swami enquired about what had happened. The Veena player told them that he had committed a grave sin and that Maha Swami had subdued his ego. When questioned by the devotees to elaborate on what had happened, he told them that he played a very rare set of notes in his Veena, and while playing, he forgot some of the notes in the middle of the performance. He added that he looked around the spectators and decided that no one really might know the notes and managed to play some other notes. Upon completion, Maha Swami picked the Veena and played the same notes that the Veena player had earlier fumbled upon. He said that he played a very rare piece on his Veena, the same notes which were played by Ravana to propitiate Lord Shiva in Kailasha and that he was drunk in ego that it was only he who knew that very rare notes.  The crux from this incident is that when one is blessed with an extra ordinary talent, one needs to learn to be as humble as possible. Satsangs are divine forums to invoke the Lord’s grace on all his devotees.

This was then followed by a brief round of introductions. Following this, Sriramji from Houston continued with the Nava Yogi lecture and expounded on the Upadesha of Hari Yogi to King Nimi.

The eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam can be viewed as the crown jewel of Lord Sri Krishna since it contains many profound Vedantic truths which are expounded throughout the eleventh canto. In the first upadesha of the Nava Yogi’s, Kavi Yogi gave the beautiful precept of surrendering all the fruits of one’s action to the Lord’s holy feet and in the process relieve one from the fear of samsara. One needs to take refuge onto the holy feet of the Lord. One should perceive everything and everyone as Lord Krishna. This is called as Karma Yoga. Practicing the path of Karma Yoga will instill in one the taste of Bhagavata Dharma which is verily singing the divine names of the Lord and listening to His divine stories.  This discourse was beautifully delivered by Kavi Yogi to King Nimi.

After listening to the discourse by Kavi Yogi, King Nimi said, “Oh Nava Yogis, among all men, what are the characteristics that differentiate these Bhagavatas from other men. King Nimi requested then requested the Nava Yogis to expound on the characteristics of Bhagavatas. He was very eager to know about their dispositions and as to how they conduct themselves.  In reply to King Nimi’s question, Hari Yogi started to expound on the characteristics of Bhagavathotamas.

Sarvae Bootaeshu ya pashyeth bhagavathbhaavamathmanaha |
Boothani bhgavathathman yaesha bhagavathothamaha || [11.2.45]

Gruhithvapi indriyairarthaan yon a dvaeshti hrushyathi |
Vishnormaayam idhampashyan sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.48]

Na Kaam karma bhijanam yasya chaetasi sambhavaha |
Vasudevaikanilayaha sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.50]

Na yasya janmakarmabhayam na varnashramajaathibihi |
Sajjathaesminahambhavo daehae vai sa harehae priyaha || [11.2.51]

People in general can be classified into three categories on any level of comparison.  They are verily Uttama, Madhyama and Adhama. Sage Suka lucidly elaborates that one should not use the term Adhama when describing any Bhagavatas. It is verily because even though he might be in the lowest step of the ladder in his life, as long as he prays the Lord for anything in his life can only be called as a blessed soul [bhagyawan]. Sage Suka coined a new term for the third category of the Bhagavatas as “Prakrutha”. The three categories for Bhagavatas are Praakruthan, Madhyaman and Uttaman.

Shri Sridhara Swamigal in his dissertation very beautifully describes the term Prakruthan.  It implies “Prakrutha Prarambhaha” which means he is in the very early stages of bhakti. The next category of Bhagavatas is called as Madhyama. They are in a little advanced state in the path of bhakti. They don’t feel jealous of others and don’t wish bad for others. They however pray to the Lord to satiate their mundane needs. The third category of Bhagavatas is Uttamas. They perform bhakti for attaining liberation from the cycle of samsra [mukti]. The Lord classifies this kind of Mumukshus as Satvikaas. The Bhagavatotamas are the rarest of all Bhagavatas. They perform bhakti for the sake of bhakti. They enjoy the divine plays of the Lord and derive happiness in chanting the Divine Names of the Lord.

The devotee of the highest order sees the Lord in every living organism in this world without an iota of difference. They celebrate everyone with love. There are infinite examples to substantiate this precept. Sant Jnaneshwar saw the Lord in a wall which is achetanam (insentient). He made the wall move.

In Bhagavad Gita, it is said that a humble devotee of the highest  order sees a brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog as the very Lord and does not show prejudice to anyone. He adheres to the path of Samadharshanam

vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi hastini
sunichaiva sva-pake cha panditah sama-darsinah [Bhagavad Gita 5.18]

Mahans go a step further and say that to see the Lord in a Brahman who is self effulgent and is an embodiment of peace is not that great. Mahans paraphrase the term Samadharshanam as to one who sees the Lord in a poverty-stricken man. It show universal love to all living beings is indeed Samadharshanam, proclaim the mahans.

If we see the episode of Priyavrata, he took an ever-lasting vow to show love to everyone. Even when somebody came to slain him, he was still loving to the killer.

Namazhawar in his pasurams “vaada malar kondu vaarir adhan naamam veenae tharalamae”

Vaada malar connotes to a flower that has not lost its fragrance. Namazhwar in his above hymn refers to that eternal Lord who is ever compassionate in everyone has the vaada malar . To perceive love in everything and in everyone is one of the main characteristics of a Bhagavathotama.

Now, how do we know that someone is really exhibiting true love? There is a quick test and it is known as Paropakarartham.  Having the very thought  to be of some help to others constantly is a clear trait of exhibiting love, akin to how each  and every part of a tree is useful to everyone.

In the life-history of great devotees of the Lord Panduranga, Sant Ekanath saw the Lord in a donkey. Sant Gnaneshwar saw the Lord in a buffalo. He made the buffalo speak Vedas. Let’s start to reminisce another incident from a great Bhagavata in Puri kshetra. This great devotee took a vow to consume his meal everyday only after serving a sadhu. Puri was filled with sadhus and there was absolutely no shortage for sadhus. One day, the Lord of Puri, Lord Jegannatha decided to play a small prank on this devotee. There was no sadhu present in Puri and so this great devotee of the Lord could not feed anyone and hence was quite upset. His family was also waiting to be fed but this devotee was eagerly waiting to feed a sadhu before his family consumed the meal for the day. As he was patiently waiting, he heard someone on the street calling out the divine names of the Lord “Narayana Hari”. Hearing the sound of the divine names, he rushed outside and saw a sadhu. He was however inflicted with leprosy and was not in a presentable state. This devotee on seeing the sadhu in such a condition did not hesitate to welcome him. His family left the house once the sadhu entered the house. But this great devotee provided a warm hospitality. When he just touched the feet of the sadhu, the sadhu disappeared and there stood the Lord of Puri, Sri Jegannath Swami. That is verily how the Bhagavathotamas see everyone as the Lord himself.

Gruhithvapi indriyairarthaan yon a dvaeshti hrushyathi |
Vishnormaayam idhampashyan sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.48]

He who sees the whole universe as the very creation of Lord Maya is indeed a Bhagavathotama.  He only perceives the mundane world because of his senses, and he neither experiences delight nor repulsion. There is one connection between all the different creations in this world and it is the Lord in each and every creation.

Another classic characteristic of a Bhagavathotama is that they are not affected by happiness or sorrow. The testimony to this is the life-history of Jadabharatha. He was in tranquil state even when the tribal folks were about to cut off his head.

Na Kaam karma bhijanam yasya chaetasi sambhavaha |
Vasudevaikanilayaha sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.50]

Bhagavathotamas are not attracted by fame, money, women is another outstanding quality in them.

Let’s reminisce another incident from Sri Vedanta Deskiar. He was contemporary with that of Krishnandevaraya who was the king. He wanted to have Vedanta Desikar in his ministry and hence sent a word out through his assistants. Vedanta Desikar was an epitome of knowledge and led  a very simple life. The king had sent a palanquin to bring Vedanta desikar to the court. The ministers upon reaching the residence of Vedanta Desikar, told him that they had come to let him know that the king wanted him to be the minister in his court  and that they have come to take him along in the palanquin. At that very moment, after hearing the news, Vedanta Desikar composed “Vairagya Panchakam” containing five verses. He nicely folded the verses and placed it inside the palanquin and asked the ministers to take it back to the king.

One of the five verses of Vairagya Panchakam is mentioned below –

na me pitrArjitam kinchit na mayA kinchidArjitam |
asti me hastishailAgre vastu paitAmaham dhanam ||

In the above verse, Bhagavatotamas know that their ancestors are none other than the children of the Lord and that it is the responsibility of the Lord to take care of them. They don’t go out and ask for support from anybody since they consider it as a shameful act not for them but for their father who is none other than Lord Krishna himself.

That is the feeling that the Bhagavatotamas carry with themselves.

After the beautiful discourse, the satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.

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