July 2: Kurukshetra Samaagamam – 1

2 Jul

The Lord in Bhagavad Gita discourses on the various spiritual paths through which one can finally attain Him. At the end of His discourse, He sees that Arjuna was still in a confused state and he said the following verse, “Oh Arjuna! I see that you are confused. I will give you a direct and easy path to attain me. Fall at My feet and surrender unto Me”, He says. In His discourses to Arjuna, He first expounded on the path of Karma Yoga. The reason he did not elaborate on the path of Sanyasa as the first and foremost path was because the Lord did not want Arjuna to embrace that path and hence he first delineated on the path of Karma Yoga. He advised Arjuna to do all his duties enlisted for him and while carrying out them, he asked him to offer the fruits of the action to the Lord. When one advocates on any path, he should have immense knowledge on that path. Here when Lord Krishna elucidated on the path of Karma Yoga to Arjuna, we can see from various instances in Srimad Bhagavatham that the Lord was a perfect Karma Yogi. Sage Narada was baffled to see his execution of duties were in line to what he has mentioned in Bhagavad Gita. Then Lord then started to explicate on the path of Jnana Marga. He did not directly embark on Jnana path right away. He started his discourse with the saying that one will not be imparted with Jnana directly. Jnana is the elixir to all the misery. The sins committed by one and all the sensual desires will be burnt in the fire of Jnana.

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah[Bhagavad Gita 4.34]

One cannot get the Jnana unless one is not in the association of a Jnani. Lord Krishna urged Arjuna to be in the divine association of a SadGuru. By surrendering unto him and doing selfless service to the master is the first step to acquire that Jnana, the Lord says. Once the Mahatma is pleased with his disciple’s services, he will allow him to clarify all the doubts. It is verily by clearing all doubts after which one will gain Jnana. He will clear all the doubts by bestowing his disciple with a Deeksha. “Pariprasnena sevaya” – translates to rendering service to Guru. This leads to lot of questions. How can one serve a guru, who is devoid of any desires and spends most of his time in solitude in wilderness? To answer this question, it is said that one does not need to serve a Guru but just the deep yearning desire in his mind to serve his Sadguru is more than enough. “Guru Sevva cha Sankalpa hemchi majjae purna thapa”.

One’s penance and prayers should be directed to nurture the desire to serve the Guru. So when one does service to a Guru, then he may start to ask questions. A guru may not directly answer your questions. He can bestow his disciple with a Deeksha. Our scriptures elucidate on three ways through which a Guru can bestow a Deeksha – Hastha Deeksha, Smarana Deeksha and by mere eye contact. Hastha Deeksha is by the mere touch of a Sadguru that one is blessed with divine knowledge. This is seen in the life-history of RamaKrishna Paramahamsa where he touched many of his devotees and they were instantly blessed with the divine knowledge or experience. The second way where a Guru can impart that knowledge is by merely thinking of that disciple. An apt example for this is from the life-history of Adishankara. By merely thinking about his disciple Giri, he imparted divine knowledge to Giri, who was later known to the world as “Thotakacaharya”.

We are indeed blessed to be part of this divine satsang, and the only wish for our Guru Maharaj is that he wants each and everyone to chant the divine names of the Lord. If one desires to do more service to him, then he needs to make one other acquaintance of his to chant the Divine Names of the Lord and the Jnana that he blesses one and all is taking all his devotees unto the holy feet of Lord Krishna.

Following a brief round of introductions, Nithyaji from Boston discoursed on one of the past-times of Lord Krishna, Kurukshetra Samagamam where he and his devotees met after a long time and reveled in a satsang. This episode is described in detail in the eighty second chapter of the tenth canto in Srimad Bhagvatham. One can see that there is a fine invisible link that connects all the God’s creation beings in this world starting from humans, animals, birds, and insects and all the way to the sea creatures in the ocean bed. They are strung like beads in a beautiful thread called divine love. It is this divine love that holds all the creations together. But in this mundane world, this love narrows down to selfishness in the beings. When selfishness creeps in, this thread called divine love disintegrates and the beads will be strewed in different directions. In order to preserve the thread of divine love, the Mahans pour their heart with soaring love towards God, because love when directed towards the Almighty will absolve the selfishness and then one can see the Athma Chaitanyam prevailing in all human beings everywhere.

Sant Tukkaram in one of his Abhangs sings –

“hrudayim akandita prema” – The heart is soaring with love for all human beings because Paramatma exists in all of them.

Our Lord Sri Hari gives himself to this divine love [Prema].

Nammazhwar in one of his pasurams “Patrudai adiyavaruku eliyavan”

The Lord himself sows the seed of divine love in all our hearts. This grows and blossoms very slowly. And when this seed of divine love is in the penultimate stage to bloom, the darshan of the Lord is the end result of that true divine love. In Srimad Bhagavatham, Lord Krishna elaborates as to how this divine love grows in all the jivas. It is through sheer separation [viraham]. Many Mahatmas like Krishna Chaitanya have wept all their lives on the separation of the Lord. He lifted both his hands and called out the divine names of the Lord in order to attain the holy feet of the Lord. He prayed to the Lord that he should weep all his life thinking about the Lord. NamAzhwar has also wept all his life and the tears that he shed is Thiruvazhimozhi. If we take an example from our daily mundane activities, we pray to the Lord for something earnestly. There is a fifty percent probability that we may be successful in our aspirations and there is another fifty percent probability that we might not get what we wanted. If we delve into this and look at this from a philosophical perspective, what we win and lose in the mundane world really does not matter for god realization. However, being in a spiritual path if we shed some tears for the Lord, unable to bear the separation of the Lord and yet not attain him, the tears that one shed for the Lord will itself resolve the sole purpose. The tears shed for the Lord are just enough. Uddava leaves Brindavan after his stint in Brindavan. The Gopis earnestly requested Uddava not to disclose the fact that they have been crying for Lord Krishna and instead requested Uddava to bless them so that they can shed tears to Lord Krishna forever.

The Lord and Mahans are compassion personified and they shower grace on all the mortals without any reason – “Kaarana rahita krupa nidhi”.  Their grace is unconditional. So can we not shed a drop of tear praising the Lord’s unconditional compassion on all the jivas?

He rose in the dust of the feet of the Gopis and came to meet Lord Krishna in Mathura. When he met Lord Krishna, Krishna immediately enquired on the Gopis. Uddava couldn’t reply. Uddava’s eyes were flooded with tears. He told Krishna, “Oh Krishna! I am crying now and that’s what happened. I have learnt to weep after seeing the Gopi Prema. I am a minister in your administration and have been your dear friend so long and always consumed the food-remains [uchistham] from your plate, always wore your clothes and ornaments. My mind always revels in your thought. Alas, I did not know to shed a drop of tear praising your unconditional compassion. You have bestowed me with everything but did not bless me with bhakti and devotion”.  Please bestow me with that bhakti. Saying so, Uddava was inconsolable. It is said that “Muktim Dhaadati Karhicith sma na bhakti yogam”.  It is generally said that the Lord will easily bestow mukti but he is very frugal in offering bhakti as a benediction since he goes running behind his ardent devotees.  He will be bound by the love of the devotee. Uddava came to know the epitome of bhakti which is Prema Bhakti from the Gopis of Brindavan. The Prema Bhakti in the Gopis was verily due to the sheer separation [Viraham] from Lord Krishna. The Gopis were separated from Lord Krishna for hundred years.

Even Lord Krishna fondly remembers the day when he departed from Brindavan in Akrurar’s chariot and how the Gopas, Gopis, Yashoda and Nanda all came running behind the chariot unable to bear the separation of Lord Krishna from them.

“Ramena Sardham Madhuraam Pranithae “
“ Swabaikinaa mai anurktha chithaha”

After Krishna departed from Brindavan, he moved to Mathura. He slayed Kamsa and took over the entire reign. The day he became the Mathuradipathi, he worked day and night to protect the kingdom and his people. His mind was however yearning for the soil of Brindavan, the cows and river Yamuna. His mind revels in the thought of Yashoda Ma, Nanda, the Gopas and the Gopis. He was not able to leave Mathura since all the neighboring kings have totally suppressed the Yadava clan and so Lord Krishna had to establish the Yadava empire again. Once the Yadava clan was re-established the neighboring kings again started to wage war and Lord Krishna had no amassed ancestral wealth and so he had to acquire wealth and army for fighting the war. He had the responsibility of protecting the other kings who were Mahans and also his friends.

One night, when he was resting he confided to Rukmini about how he used to spend his child-hood days in Brindavan. As he was narrating the good-old days in Brindavan, a thought just struck him where he wanted to bring all his devotees under one roof. He decided to organize a mela during the months of Chaturmasya and since a total eclipse of the sun was fast approaching he decided to use that as a reason for conducting this mela. The main reason for conducting this mela was for the Lord to revel in Krishnabhaktanubhavam. He cited the reason as solar eclipse since he wanted everyone to participate and just the Bhagavathas and he wanted to transform everyone into a Bhagavatha. All the kings from different parts of the country had been invited and many other principalities who were either Lord Krishna’a allies or enemies assembled for this great occasion.  For the residents of Gokula, this grand mela did not ignite any bit of excitement in them. For them the holy kshetra was Brindavan and the sacred river was Yamuna. However they were so excited to meet their dear Krishna so they also decided to attend this mela. This mela took place in Kurukshetra were Lord Parameshwara had consecrated a sacred spot to absolve one of all sins. All the people who came to this mela took bath in this sacred spot. All arrangements were made in a grand manner. All the Rishis, Vasishta, Vamadevar,Markandeyar, Dhurvasar, Atri, Vishwamitra, to name a few, had assembled. When Lord Krishna’s eyes fell on these great Rishis, he immediately stood up and prostrated to them.  Lord Krishna was overjoyed on seeing the Mahans and sang in praise of them. He extolled the greatness of Mahans who are the very embodiment of godliness and unfailing wisdom. Their mere presence can purify the whole environment and ushers in divinity. It is said that the deities in the “Garbhagraha” of the temples are said to be more sacred. It verily goes to show the fact that these idols are consecrated by great Mahans and they perform daily ablutions to the deity and hence the idols inside the temples are said to be more divine. It is verily the divine power of the Sadhus and Mahans that shows off as Sannidhya in the deities inside the temples. It is also said that a spiritual aspirant should read the discourses of scriptures by a Mahan. It is because he absolves the asaaram and gives only the crux of the scriptures, akin to how the clouds evaporate the sea water so as to give us the pure and pristine water. Shastras are akin to the salty water and the Mahans remove the salt from these shastras and give us only the crux of it. Seeing Lord Krishna prostrating to the holy feet of the great Rishis, other kings and other great personalities also followed suit.

Vasudeva on seeing the great Rishis put forth a great question. He requested them to explicate on the paths to attain liberation. The Rishis were amazed at Vasudeva’s question. Sage Narada’s face wore a smile. The Supreme Being in the Kshirabdi and Vaikunta, That which is unexplainable even by the Upanishads, That which resides only in the heart of great Yogis verily existed in the house of Vasudeva! Vasudeva did not realize the greatness of his son who is verily the Paramatma.  It is because of the fact that he considers Lord Krishna as his dear son.

There is a small Upakayana at the end of the tenth canto in Srimad Bhagavatham. There lived a Brahmin family in Dwaraka. For some reason every child that was born in that house eventually disappeared. So the Brahmin approached Lord Krishna and confided his problem to the Lord. He pleaded with Lord Krishna to find the root-cause. Arjuna, who witnessed this conversation immediately stood up and told that Brahmin, “Why do you ask Krishna to help you out? He is a cow-herd. He cannot help you.  I will come and help you out. I have my weapon Gandeeva with me”.  In the below mentioned sloka, Arjuna says, “I am not Sankarshana and am not Krishna. I am Arjuna and I have my weapon Gandeevam with me. “.

Naham Sankarshano brahman na krishna karshnir evacha
aham va arjjuno naama gandeevam yasya vai dhanuhu

When the Lord is available easily, we fail to realize the importance of him. That is the crux of the episode.

Similarly Vasudeva thinks of Lord Krishna as his dear son and requested the sages to advice on the paths for liberation. Sage Narada who was also present when Vasudeva asked this question replied immediately. He said that any Jivan when born in this world is indebted to the Devas, the ancestors [Pitrus], the Rishis, to all the creatures and the Boothas and to the humans. He further added that Vasudeva did not have any debts to his ancestors since he was blessed with a Satputhra. He also mentioned that he did not have any dues for the Rishis, since he was always listening to the Itihasas, Puranas and always propitiated the path of Shravana Bhakti and since he also did a lot of charity, Sage Narada told Vasudeva that he was not indebted to the creatures and the Boothas and the humans as well. He finally mentioned that he vowed to the Devas and suggested Vasudevar to perform a grand sacrifice which will last for four months [Chaturmasya].

All the Rishis who were present for this occasion started to perform this sacrifice and Lord Krishna did all the arrangements. At this juncture the Gopas and Gopis approach Kurukshetra.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

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