The Dharma that is baseline for all of us is Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana means eternal. Our Dharma is eternal and is the oldest of all dharmas. The beauty of Sanatana Dharma is its diversity. There may be other faiths and religions which are not so diverse and they may thrive to be multifarious but they might not be as deep-rooted as Sanatana Dharma. This multitudinous nature of Sanatana Dharma makes this dharma so grand and people may have their own choices of the path based on their temperament. Although there is one ultimate destination there are other destinations and each one of these destinations has their own path. That is the greatness of Sanatana Dharma. This diversity cannot be found in other dharmas. There is another feather that caps Sanatana Dharma. It is not the jivas who pull people from other dharma to Sanatana Dharma but it is verily the Lord himself who pulls them to give his darshan. If we take the life-history of Sufi Saints as well as Sant Kabir, it was Lord Rama who pulled Sant Kabir to give darshan. In the path of Sanatana Dharma, the Lord himself chooses his devotees to bestow them with his darshan. Another price-worthy quality of Sanatana Dharma is that a person following one path does not degrade another person following another path and this is very true in the devotees following the path of Bhagavatha Dharma. A person following Bhagavatha Dharma does not look down on other paths. There is a beautiful adage from our Guru Maharaj, “Accept all adapt one”. All these paths have been created by Lord Krishna himself and he created them because he wanted to have diversity. He just did not want only one flower to bloom and so there is variety there. He did not want to be worshipped at one place alone, and so He manifested Himself in various temples. Since it is Lord Krishna who created all these paths, we do not degrade them. Srimad Bhagavatham shows this beautiful precept in various instances. In the first canto, it shows the different paths of worship which will lead to Bhagawan. In the second canto, it elucidates on the different kinds of worship –“Brahmavarchasa Kamastu, Indran indriya Kamastu..” We have numerous paths based on one’s mindset. In the fourth canto, it shows how one should not look down upon other paths. The Daksha Yagna episode outlines this moral very clearly. Srimad Bhagavatham then goes to show a beautiful path that everyone can follow and is very easy to follow. This path is Bhagavatha Dharma, the path of worship of Radha and Krishna. This path of worship is also called as Yugalam [worship as a pair]. This path is indeed beautiful since the mother has all the grace and compassion in her and only on her recommendations, the Lord bestows his devotees with his darshan. She recommends the devotee to the Lord requesting him to not weigh his negative qualities and bestow him with darshan.
In our satsang, we follow the path of Yugalam, the path of worship of Lordess Lakshmi and Vishnu and chant the Divine Names of the Lord and also listening to the divine exploits of the Lord.
Nithyaji from Boston continued on the discourse of Kurukshetra Samagamam.
Upon the request of Sage Narada, Vasudeva arranged for the grand austerity [yagna] that was going to last for the entire chaturmasya [four months]. Lord Krishna made all the arrangements for food and shelter for all the guests. All the Rishis, kings from different parts of the country and many other celebrities were present for this function. Many people from across the country came to take a holy dip in the Pushkarni that was created by Lord Shiva. People were slowly assembling for this grand function and now it was the time for the people of Brindavan to arrive.
They loaded their bullock carts with utensils, butter and they reached the place where this austerity was taking place. They were so eager to see their Krishna and eagerly enquired with everyone as to where Lord Krishna was. They were directed to where Lord Krishna was seated. He was seated among the great Rishis, the kings and other important people. When Krishna heard the faint voice of “Where is Krishna”, he immediately knew that it was Nandababa’s voice. He immediately stood up from his seat and ran out to see his loved ones. Ho completely forgot for a moment that he was the Nara Narayana Rishi, the king of all kings. He soon spotted Yashoda, Nanda and the Gopas and Gopis. As soon as He saw them, His eyes started to bloom like lotus and his heart was filled with joy. He sat on the lap of Yashoda and she started to fondle Him and fed Him with butter. Can we imagine Krishna who is one hundred and twenty years old was being fed with butter by Yashoda!
There was no spot of any cunning look on the Lord’s face and he still had the naïve and childish looks when Yashoda saw Krishna. She told Him that all she yearned in her life was to feed her dear Krishna and nothing else. Everyone was watching this whole scene was amazed to see Yashoda’s divine love towards Lord Krishna and everyone’s eyes were flooded with tears of joy and all were agog witnessing the love between the Lord and His parents. Devaki thanked Yashoda for sending Lord Krishna to them. She fondly calls Krishna as “Gopala Ratnam”. After meeting his foster parents, Krishna slowly turned His head towards the Gopis. Sage Suka says – “Thaha thataboo thaha”. Lord Krishna is verily the Lord and so he possesses the same youthfulness [youvana]. The Gopis are also still youthful says Sage Suka. They were in the same state when Lord Krishna departed from Gokula in Akrura’s chariot. Lord Krishna calls on the Gopis and asked them “Api Smarathana Sakhyah”. He asked them if they remember the child-hood days that they all spent in the banks of Yamuna river. The Gopis’ life-line was to reminisce those good old days with the Lord.
“Brindavanantha Sanchara Venu Gaana Manohara”
Shyama Sundara govinda govardhana dhara prabho
Mayura baddha makuta pithambaradara prabho
Sridhaamotsanga Shayana Bala Bhadra sahodara
Yamuna dheera sanchara nikunja gruha kokila”
In the tenth canto in Venu Geetham the Gopis extol the glory of Yamuna River and they sing as to how river Yamuna enjoyed the Lord. It is said that Yamuna Devi performs pooja for the Lord. Krishna used to sit on the Tamaala tree and it is said that one of the branches lowers itself so much so that the Lord can be seated comfortably to play his flute. The branches lower themselves so much that the Lord’s feet touch the river Yamuna. Yamuna Devi collects all the lotuses and brings it with her and with the waves as her hands she humbly offers them unto the holy feet of the Lord and performs pooja to the Lord. She lets the lotuses remain at the holy feet of the Lord for some time and then takes the flowers and heads to Samudhra Raaja. Samudhra Raaja on seeing Yamuna Devi enquires about her late arrival. She lucidly replied that she performed pooja to Lord Krishna and gave the lotuses to him as Prasad and he was so happy to receive them.
It is also said that Thiagarajar in his Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam exposition conveys the precept that Prahlada envied Samudhra Raaja. Prahlada tells Samudhra Raaja that the Lord was in Pralaya Samudhram in Varaha Avatar. In Koorma Avatar the Lord was in Ksheera Samudhram. In Rama’s incarnation, the Lord performed Sethu Bandhanam in samudhra and lastly the Lord is in samudhram in his deep sleep. Prahlada envies this and requested Samudhra Raaja to go as a messenger requesting to tell the Lord to give darshan to him. He asked him to go as His messenger to the Lord.
After seeing the Gopis, the Lord’s eyes slowly caught sight of Radhe. He fondly called out the name Radhe. Narayanabhatatri in Narayaneeyam lucidly depicted the discussion that happened between the Lord and Radhe. He says –
“Ripujana kalakaihi puna punasmae Samupagathai iyathi vidambana boothu
Ithi krutha pari ramba nae thvai Athi viva saa kalu radhika li lilyai”
Guruvayoorappan told Radhe that not a day passed without her thought and also added that the very thought of her was his solace and strength when dealing with issues. He also told her that He always wanted to come and meet her and was unable to do so because of His busy schedule.
When Lord Krishna called out the name “Radhe Radhe”, she is reminded of those good old days in Brindavan, where he called out “Radhe Radhe” while playing his flute –
“Kuzhalosai Seikindran Muralidharan”\
“radhe Radhe Radhe endru Kuva”
“Yamuna theerathil Kuzhaloosai Seikindran”
The word “Radhe” is so sweet and is filled with supreme divine love. When the Lord called out the name of Jagan Matha, Radhe, she was not very excited and said that the anxiety that the Lord underwent due to sheer separation [Viraham] from the Gopis outweighed happiness she derived on seeing the Lord after hundred years.
All the Ashta Sakhis [Rukmini, Sathyabama,Jambhavati, Kalindhi, Mirhravindha, Sathya, Badra and Lakshmi] of Lord Krishna came to meet the Gopis. They were so excited to see them and their face lit up on seeing the Gopis. Lord Krishna had told so much about the wonderful Gopis to Rukmini. The Gopis and the Ashta Sakis met for the first time. All the queens also come to meet the Gopis. Draupadi, an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna was also extremely happy to see the Gopis. People who had gathered were all extolling the greatness of Lord Krishna. Draupadi on seeing the Sakis eagerly enquired the reason for marrying Lord Krishna.
“Na vayam sadhvi samraajyam swaraajyam bhojam abyuthae”
The Ashta Sakhis beautifully replied to Draupadi’s question that they married Lord Krishna for merely doing service to the Lord and not for acquiring any wealth or even liberation. They wanted to marry the Lord not to enjoy the status of being a spouse, but so that they may be treated like a broom (‘gruha maarjani’) so that there is a nimble chance that He may shower His grace by looking at them in the passing. Their main purport in life was to do service to the Lord and they clearly mentioned that they learnt this purport only from the Gopis who are verily the personification of godliness. The Gopis are verily the gurus for the Sakhis.
All of them were reveling in satsangam extolling the greatness of Lord Krishna. Kunti, Devaki and Yashoda were all praise for Krishna’s Vatsalyam. All the Ashta Sakis, the Gopis, Draupadi and all the queens glorified the Lord’s prema [love]. Krishna’s philosophies won the plaudits of the great Rishis who participated in the satsang. The kings and his ministers discussed about the Lord’s wealth.
The yaga thus started in this memorable satsang and everyone had a great time for those four months. Lord Krishna made all arrangements needed for the austerity. The Kings and other ministers left after staying there for few days. People who had come to take bath in the Pushkarni to absolve their sins also left Kurukshetra. The Lord’s devotees stayed back and they stayed for the whole four months. The Rishis were also stationed in Kurukshetra since they performed the Yaga. Time flew and before even anyone realized the four months passed by and the Yaga also came to an end. It was time for all the devotees and the Lord to depart. Their hearts choked and were unable to depart from the Lord. The Gopis and Radhe were akin to a stone at the moment of their departure. The Lord consoled them and even the Lord left Kurukshetra with a heavy heart. It is said that in Narayaneeyam that the Lord did not go to Dwaraka directly from Kurukshetra but went to Gurvayoor and spent some time there and then departed to Dwaraka.
The Lord’s desire was finally satiated by having a great satsang re-union with all his ardent devotees for four months.
After this wonderful discourse, the satsang closed with prayers and Namasankirtan.