Jul 16: An Introduction to Uddhava Gita – 1

16 Jul

In our Sanatana Dharma, a Dharma is specified depending on the age we live and also based on the life-style we adopt in that age. A specific Dharma is specified for one based on the vocation and the ashrama that he/she is in. There are two types of Dharma, Samanya Dharma and Moksha Dharma. Samanya dharma shows the ways for leading a life. Moksha Dharma shows the paths for attaining the Lord. At any point in time these two Dharmas are specified for a person. Vedas expound on the ways of leading the life. Simple facts like cleanliness are explained in Vedas. If we take the various paths specified in Moksha dharma, like Jnana Marga, Bhakti Marga to name a few, this applies to spiritual aspirants who are not Bhagavatas. As far as the path of Bhagavata Dharma is concerned, there is no distinction between Samanya dharma and Moksha dharma. Bhagavata Dharma is inclusive of both these dharmas coupled with the grace of the Lord which leads all our lives. In order to be recipient of that grace and mercy, one needs to chant the Divine Names of the Lord and listen to the Lord’s Divine stories. So Samanya dharma and Moksha dharma are combined into one in the case of Bhagavata dharma which itself makes it one of the simplest and pragmatic dharma for this age.

Sri Narayananji continued the talk….

The greatness of Bhagavata Dharma is that it is indeed a secret. The prowess of chanting the Divine Names of the Lord is akin to a normal shrub which grows amidst the weeds. For a normal person, it will seem to be a weed. Only those who know the secret of the weeds can identify this shrub which can be an elixir to life. Akin to this shrub is Bhagavata Dharma. Only those who know the import of it can cherish and relish it. Srimad Bhagavatam speaks about Bhagavata Dharma right from beginning to end. In the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we saw the beautiful discourse of Bhagavata Dharma by Sage Narada to Vasudeva, Lord Krishna’s father. He expounded on Bhagavata Dharma by reproducing the dialogue between King Nimi of Videha Desha and the Nava Yogis, who are the sons of Rishabha Yogishawara who is verily the incarnation of the Lord. The nine sons were Kavi, Hari, Prabuddha, Anthariksha, Pippalayanar,Avirhotrar,Drumila,Chamasa and Karabhajanar. The nine yogis are great Mahans and devotees of the highest order. The names of the Nava Yogis are related to the discourses that they deliver. The first Yogi is Kavi. Kavi connotes poet. It is only a poet who can explain and articulate things in a beautiful manner. He expounds on the path of bhakti. The next Yogi is Hari. Hari refers to the name of the Lord. It is verily the Lord who can talk about the characteristics of a Bhagavotatama. Hari Yogi expounded on the characteristics of the Bhagavotama. The third Yogi is Antharikshar. He elucidated about Maya. Maya is related to sky [aakasha]. Antharisksha means Aakasha.  The next Yogi is Prabuddha. The term Prabuddha means one who is a realized soul. He explained how it is imperative to take the shelter of a guru. He outlined the need for doing bhakti to a guru and the greatness of listening to the glories of the Lord.  “doore hari kathah kechit doore cha achyuta keerthanaah”

A sleeping person cannot wake up another sleeping person. Only a person who is already awake can wake up the rest. The next Yogi Pippalayana, whose name refers to a Jnani, delineated the characteristics of Lord Narayana and also portrayed the greatness of Jaagrath, Swapna and Shusupti. It is only a Jnani who can bestow knowledge [Jnana]. The sixth Yogi is Avirhotra. Avirhotra means one who performs spiritual austerities [homam] and hence he explicated on Karma, Akarma and Vikarma. The next Yogi is Dhrumila and his name translates to a Dravida or a Pouranikar. He explained on the characteristics of the Lord and the innumerable incarnations taken by the Lord. The eighth Yogi is Chamasa. Chamasa means Ajnana. He expounded about the atheists [Ajnanis.] His discourse was a very powerful lecture as he lashed out the ajnanis who make fun of people who follow the path of Bhagavata Dharma. The last of the Yogis is Karabhajana and his name signifies to someone having a vessel in his hand. The Sanskrit meaning of Karabhajana is giving something in hand.  His discourse is all about the essence of the eight Yogis and finally gives on our hands what one needs to know. He gave the quintessence of Bhagavata Dharma which is verily the chanting of the Divine Names of the Lord for KaliYuga. The name Karabhajana also connotes another meaning.  He has his hands verily as his plate. Who is referred to as Karabhajana? It is verily the sanyasis. The path of Sanyasa Dharma is closest to moksha [liberation]. Adi Shankara says that the path of sanyasa is total renunciation. He will not even have a plate to take alms. He goes and stands in front of every house requesting for alms, “Bhavathi Biksham Dehi”. He only takes three hands full of alms and he gives the rest to charity. There are days when a sanyasi doesn’t get any alms. On those days he starves. This is called as “Ajakara Vrithi” akin to a python which kills anything that comes on its way and would not go out of the way to kill some animal.

Karabhajana has his hands as his plate and advocated the path of complete renunciation. He being an epitome of renunciation who has incarnated as Karabhajana has expounded on the greatness of Bhagavata Dharma. Dharma for a renunciate in the Kali Yuga is Bhagavata Dharma. The beauty of Bhagavatam is indeed the words which the Mahans deploy when they talk about some thing.

“Krishnavarnam Tvishakrsihnam Saangopaangastraparshadam”|
“Yagnaihi Sankeethirthanaprayaih yajanti hi sumedhasah”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32]

He expounded on the different yugas and preached on the path that one should adopt in Kali Yuga to worship the Lord who is black in complexion but brilliant as a sapphire. He beautifully outlined how the intelligent people propitiate the Lord. Yagna connotes sacrifice. One should perform all the karmas that are destined for him. Our Guru Maharaj advocated that everyone should do the karmas ordained for them and also chant the Divine Names of the Lord as when possible. Here Karabhajanar asserted that one should chant the Divine Names of the Lord with due diligence and outlined the greatness of Nama sankirtan and that all Yagnas and other divine activities should be followed after Nama Sankirtan. Any divine deed or otherwise should always be done with divine names chanting of the Lord. He extolled the greatness of Bhagavata Dharma in two beautiful slokas –

“Dheyam sadha paribavagnam abishtadoham thirthaaspadam shivavirinchinutham charanyam
Bruthyarthiham pranathapaala bhavapthipotham vande mahapurusha thae charnaravindham”

[Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.33]

Let us meditate on the holy feet of the Lord which the Devas, Brahma and Lord Shiva are struggling hard to keep their mind focused on.  It is verily the holy feet of the Lord which when meditated upon can deliver one from all discomfiture and will dispel the distress in the devotees and serves as a boat for crossing the ocean of samsara. He shows the path of Moksha dharma by worshipping the Holy Feet of the Lord which is an elixir for crossing the ocean of transmigration.

“Thyakthva sudhusthyajasurepsitha rajyalakshmim
dharmishta aaryavachasa yadhagadharanyam
Mayamrugam dhayithayepsithamanvadhavath
vandae mahapurusha thae charanaravindham”

[Srimad Bhagvatham 11.5.34]

In the above sloka, he acclaimed the greatness of Ramayana. Lord Rama sacrificed his whole kingdom for being in dharma. He chased a maaya deer to win the heart of Lakshmi and waged war against Ravana and Karabhajanar having glorified the life lead by Rama, he beautifully says that one should follow the life-style of Lord Rama and follow the foot-steps of Lord Krishna to take everyone ashore. He thus venerated the greatness of Ramayana and Bhagavatam in the above two slokas.

“Kalim sabhajayantharya  Gunagnya Saara bhaginaha
Yatra Sankirthaeniva sarvaha svarthopilabyathae“ [Srimad Bhagvatham 11.5.35]

Instead of always talking about the detrimental effects of Kali Yuga, let us all extol the greatness of this age, which is attaining the holy feet of the Lord by chanting the Divine Names of the Lord.  People who are born in the age of Sathya Yuga seek birth in Kali Yuga to enjoy the sweetness and melody of chanting the Divine Names of the Lord who are born in the banks of Tamraparani river.

“Kvachith KvachinMaharaja dravidaeshu cha boorishaha|

Thamraparni nadhi yatra KruthaMala Payasvini”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.39]

After giving the crux of Bhagavata dharma to King Nimi, Karabhajana ended his discourse. At the same time, Sage Narada also wrapped up is lecture to Vasudeva. Vasudeva then asked Sage Narada if there was anything else he had to do? Sage Narada replied that he doesn’t have to do anything and for that matter not even follow a word of Bhagavata Dharma. How strange isn’t it? Sage Narada says, “Oh Vasudeva, Lord Krishna was born as your son. The supreme personality of Godhead has come down and is born to you and Devaki. It was because you had asked for it.”.

“Aparae Vasudevasya devakyaam yachithobhyagaat”

Vaireyayam nrupathayaha shishupala poundra
shalvadayo gathivilasavilokanadaihi
dDhyayantha aakruthdiyahaha shayanasanaadhou
thathsamyamapuranarukthadhiyam punah kim “ [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.48]

He then added that Shishupala, Salva, Poundra and Dhantavaktra who are all Asuras attained the holy feet of the Lord by merely showing hatred, jealousy and envy to Lord Krishna. They were in constant thought of Lord Krishna even when they were asleep or awake. When our heart constantly thinks of Lord Krishna, the Lord then takes us onto His Holy Feet. It doesn’t matter in what bhava one performs bhakti. This is akin to throwing a dry grass or ghee into fire. The fire doesn’t care and just burns anything and everything. The Lord will remove our ignorance and take us onto his holy feet if one is constant thought of the Lord. Even though Shishupala, Salva, Poundra and Dhantavatra had complete hatred against Lord Krishna, they couldn’t bad-mouth about the Lord. They would talk about gracious gait, his qualities [laitha gati vilasa valgu haasa]. Sage Narada quoted these Asuras and mentioned to Vasudeva that they reached the holy feet of the Lord by mere hatred against the Lord and hence requested Vasudeva and Devaki to enjoy and admire Lord Krishna as their son and with that Sage Narada departed. Vasudeva and Devaki were enlightened.

The next chapter of the eleventh canto talks about a beautiful stuthi. Our Guru Maharaj would say that Srimad Bhagavatam is a lagu stotra maala. One stuti is done by the Vedas. Devas have done stutis in many different places. They did a stuti before Lord Krishna was born. They did one more before churning the Amrutha Matanam in the eighth canto. Stuti in other words is singing praises of the Lord. This time the Devas did not go to Kshirabdhi or Vaikunta. They all came down to Dwaraka where the Lord was residing. They got beautiful flowers from Chaitrakam, Vaibraajakam, Pushparatam and Nandavanam from the Deva Lokas and offered the flowers at the holy feet of Lord Krishna and prostrated unto the Lord. They then embarked to do a stuti in ‘Chitrapadam’ style, in sweet, gentle and lovable words…

“Nathaasma thae naatha padaravindam buddhindriyapraanamanovachobih
yachinthyathaeantharhrudhi bhavayukthaihi mumukshubihi karmamayarupaashath”
– [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.6.6]

In Dwaraka the Devas surrendered all the possessions, intellect and heart. It is verily because of the fact that the Lord had taught them numerous lessons all through His incarnation. Each Deva carried some sense of pride in them as a result of some accomplishment and Lord Krishna acted then and there to subdue the ego of the Devas. Lord Brahma was feeling elated about his creation and Lord Krishna pruned his ego by creation itself. Lord Indra was egoistic about his adroit in showering rain and Lord Krishna put him in place by showing that he could protect the people. Yama was the king of death and Lord Krishna revived the dead son of Sandeepani from Yama Loka and brought him back. So Lord Krishna subdued the sense of pride in each and every Deva by simply doing the same thing that they were proud about.

The Devas on seeing the Lord in Dwaraka started to sing praises of the Lord. “Oh Lord, It is verily you who created the Maya and from this Maaya sprang the universe. Even though you created this universe you do not mingle with everyone since you are verily an Atma Raam – Sa upa mupagathae viloka naathaih”.

thvam maayaya thrigunaathmani dhurvibhavyam
vyaktam srujasyavathi lumpasi thadgunasthaha
Naithairbhavanajitha karmabirajyathae vai
yath svae sukhaevyavaharhithaebirathonavadhyah

[Srimad Bhagavatam 11.6.7]

Sudhirnrinaam na thu thadaethya dhurashayanam
vidhyasuthadyayanadhanathapaha kriyabihi
Sathvathmanamrushaba thae yashasi pravrudha
sachshradhaya shavanasambruthaya yathas syaath “ [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.6.8]

So who can get delivered from this vicious cycle called Maya. Those who want get freed from Maaya cannot do so by reading scriptures or by having a good intellect, by doing karma or by doing intense meditation or even by doing charity. So then how can one get out of Maaya? The Devas beautifully say that by listening to the divine exploits of the Lord with rapt attention, one can cross the cycle of transmigration. The Devas then continued to sing praises extolling the greatness of the Lord’s feet. Everyone has the Lord’s feet in their hearts of hearts when they do meditation, yoga or offer sacrifices and they added that it is verily the bhakti to the Lord’s feet that can make any spiritual path pure. The Devas then glorify one great avatar of the Lord, the Trivikrama Avatar. In that incarnation, Trivikrama had conquered all the three worlds and had brought Mother Ganga down to earth. One biggest feather to cap the Trivikrama avatar is that he conquered the soul of King Bali.

“Kaethusthrivikramayuthasthripathathpathako
yasthae bayaabayakarosuradevachamvoho
Swargaya Sadhushu kalaeshvitharaaya
booman paadaha punathu bhagawan bhajathamagam naha” [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.6.13]

The devas glorify the Trivikrama Avatar of the Lord, they acclaimed Hrishikesha, the driver of all senses and the Lord being the perpetrator in this universe and finally they sing praises about the holy Feet of the Lord and they applaud the path of bhakti and how this path absolves all the dirt from this universe.

Usually water is considered as a cleansing agent. There are two kinds of water that make the entire universe clear and pristine – “Theerthadwayam”. The first one is verily the water flowing from the Lord’s feet which comes down in the earth as Ganges. By mere thought of Ganges, one will be purified. The second one is “Kathamrutha”, the glory of the Lord’s divine leelas and just by drinking the divine nectar will usher instant purification. The Devas thus ended their Stuthi with praising the path of Kathasravana.

Lord Brahma then prostrated unto the Lord and thanked the Lord for his incarnation to destroy all the Asuras and also his desire to be born in the Yadu clan has also reaped the fruits. The Lord had glorified the Yadavas and Lord Brahma requested the Lord to come back to Vaikunta.

Srimad Bhagavatam then goes to show how the Yadavas were destroyed due to a curse by a Brahmana.  Nnot just scratching the surface, if we delve deeper into this, how can a Brahmana’s curse destroy a whole clan protected by Lord Krishna [Agavan api kopithaha]. It is only possible when the Lord wishes for it. The Brahmanas read the Lord’s heart that he wanted to annihilate the whole place and wanted to return to Vaikunta. The Brahmanas are the mouth-piece of the Lord.

A curse was cast on the Yadu clan by the brahmanas that they will be destroyed by a mortar [Musalam kula nashanam]. The arm of the Lord is protecting the entire Dwaraka from any calamity that is bound to strike Dwaraka. The Yadava clan started to slowly forget the Lord and satsangs and started in indulge in all nasty dealings like mocking at people and engaging in corrupt manners. The son of Lord Krishna and Jambhavati, Samban on the day of Janmastami went around feigning as a pregnant woman. Being Janmashtami day, the city of Dwaraka was flooded with great saints and mahans who had come to get the darshan of Lord Sri Krishna. Samban not only went around the Yadava clan in disguise as a pregnant woman but also in front of the great saints. The saints who were great Mahans and who could perceive the present, past and the future  cursed Samban that only an iron pestle would be born and not a human being. This scared Samban and the entire Yadava clan and yes an iron pestle did come out from Samban’s body. Instead of going to Lord Krishna for help, they went to Ugrasena. Per his advice, they crushed the iron rod into fine powder and threw it in the ocean. The tides in the ocean slowly brought the iron powder to the shore and more iron rods started to arise in the shore. They then went to Lord Krishna for help. He requested them to go to Prabaasa kshetra to cleanse all their sins. This place in today’s world is known as Somnath.  It is said that the Moon Lord [chandra] also got a curse from Daksha and that he went to Prabasa to take a holy dip. Saying so Lord Krishna left with the enitre Yadu clan to do perform ablutions in Prabasa and thereby absolve all their sins. When everyone was taking a holy dip in Prabasa, the Lord sat in a secluded place and was in intense meditation. At this juncture, Lord Krishna’s dear friend and devotee Uddhava approached the Lord.

 

Uddhava and Lord Krishna are of the same age. Right from his child-hood, he was in constant thought about the Lord.

“yah pancha haayano maatra praataraashaaya yaachitah
tan naicchad rachayan yasya saparyaam baala leelayaa”  [Srimad Bhagavatam 3:2:2]

Uddhava’s alias name was Bruhadbala and he was brought up in Mathura.Uddava’s father was Devabhaga and he was Vasudeva’sibling and hence Uddava was Lord Krishna’s cousin. Uddava was very much attached to Lord Krishna and he always wanted to enjoy his divine plays and pastimes. He would always mimic Krishna is every act of his and admired the Lord so much. Uddhava was a very intelligent person and he was waiting to have darshan of the Lord. The word Uddhava connotes happiness [utsavan]. He would forever be happy in doing utsava to his dear Lord and hence he was known to be called as Uddhava and not Bruhadpala. He was so intelligent that Bhruhaspati, the Guru of the Devas came down to take Uddhava from Mathura as his disciple.

“Vrishninam pravaro manti krishnasya dayita sakhaa
shishyro bruhaspathae saakshath uddhavo bhuddisatamah” [Srimad Bhagavatam 10:468:1]

Why did Uddhava get the highest education from Bhruhaspati? Was it because he needed that education to become a minister in Lord Krishna’s administration? The answer is no. He acquired all the knowledge to decipher the Bramara Geetham that the Gopis were going to recite. So that required him to enable him to understand that pure and pristine Krishna bhakti that the Gopis had for Lord Krishna. The moment he met Lord Krishna, he was with the Lord forever and never got separated from Him. Uddhava topped the list as being a prime most devotee following the path of Daasya Bhava. He was in constant thought of doing service to the Lord. He was a servant to Lord Krishna. He would wake up before the Lord and get everything set up. He would retire for the day only after the Lord slept. He used to accompany Lord Krishna wherever the Lord went. Uddhava was a minister in Lord Krishna’s administration. He gladly accepted it because he could do service to the Lord by being in hid vicinity always. He wanted to be a recipient of the Lord’s grace which was flowing through his beautiful eyes. Uddava and Lord Krishna were dear friends and he performed Dasya bhakti to his dear Lord.

Such an Uddhava went and approached the Lord in Prabaasa and confided in him that he could perceive many bad omens. He hailed the Lord’s incarnation and his divine leelas. In a worried voice he told the Lord that he could sense the departure of the Lord back to Vaikunta. Who can stop you Krishna? You are a Swacchandagatieshwara. You have a will of your own.

“Naaham Thavangri kamalam kshanadrdamapi keshava
thyaktum samutsahaenatha swadaama nayana mapi” [Srimad Bhagavatam11.6.43 ]

Uddava says, “Oh Lord Krishna! I have a request for you. Please do not separate me from you. I cannot imagine living away from your divine feet. Please take me along with you. How can I ever live without you when I have been doing service to your holy feet when you were awake or asleep?”.  Uddava added that he won over Maaya because he had always consumed the food remains [ucchistam] of Lord Krishna. He had worn the dresses and jewels that Lord Krishna had worn.

“Shaiya aasanaatanasthana snana kridashanadishu
katam thvaam priyamaatmanam vayam bhaktas yajema hi” [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.6.45]

“Thvayopa bhukta srag gandha vasolankara charchithah
Ucchishta bhojinodasah thava maayaa jayaemahi”  [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.6.46]

Uddhava begged to Lord Krishna and he was sitting patiently and listening to whatever Uddava said.  Lord Krishna is not going to accompany Uddhava to Vaikunta. He requested Uddhava to renounce all.

“Thvam tu sarvam parithyajya sneham swajana bhandhushu
maaya veshya maana samyak samadrik vicharasva gaam”  [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.7.6]

Renonunce everything and embrace the path of sanyasa. Perceive everything as a divine play of mine. He requested Uddhava to be in the earth for some time because if both the Lord and Bhagavata leave the earth the very same moment, the whole universe will be a haunted place to live. This beautiful precept that Lord Krishna advocated to Uddhava is called as Uddhava Gita.  Lord Krishna confided in Uddhava that he cannot find a greater Bhagavata than him and following this Uddhava put forth a series of questions to Lord Krishna which is part of Uddhava Gita.

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

 

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