Sri Bhadrachalam Ramadas in one of his kritans beautifully conveys the precept that when one sings the Lord’s Divine Names and listens to his Divine Stories, that day is indeed holy and is a festival day. There is yet another great significance to this satsang. The satsang on the 30th of July was the hundred and fourth episode of the teleconference satsang and this satsang culminated the second year of telecon satsang. It is said that the Guru’s grace is no different from the Lord’s grace. There is absolutely no reason to distinguish the Lord and the guru from one another. Both are one and the same. Our Guru Maharaj goes one step further and says that the Lord’s grace is not possible without the Guru’s grace and that both their forms are one and the same.
It is difficult to visualize the beautiful form of the Lord. One can never completely delineate the Lord’s form. The chubby cheeks of the Lord, his splendid eyes and his bright tilak on his forehead, his red rosy lips and the glowing ornaments adorning his ears and the beautiful hair that flows over the back of his head, his finger nails reflect the brilliance of the Lord’s face and the beautiful finger that holds the flute. The lustrous jewels embellish the Lord’s neck. The mark of Srivatsa on his broad chest and this is the very indication of Goddess Lordess Lakshmi residing in the Lord’s heart. The shiny cloth that covers the Lord’s body and the yellow cloth [pitambara] that covers the Lord’s waist and the Lord’s cris-crossed feet [Vyathyasta paada] and the toe ornaments [Kankanas] in the Lord’s feet. It is indeed difficult to bring this form of the Lord in order to do meditation. The beautiful form of the Lord is described in various instances throughout Srimad Bhagavatam but still nobody has really seen that beautiful form of the Lord. Our Guru Maharaj says that it is almost impossible to get a glimpse of the finger nails of the Lord even for the Yogis who do a lot of penance. So if one cannot meditate on the form of the Lord which one has not seen, then mediation is a futile effort. Here our Guru Maharaj in one of his kirtans makes the path of mediation very simplified. In one of his kirtans, he sings –
“Guru vuruvum hari uruvum or uru aagumae”
If one is unable to bring the form of the Lord in front of him during meditation, then grasp a form that is equivalent to the form of Lord Krishna. One does not need to go in search of that form. That very form is verily the form of our Guru. So meditate on the Guru’s form, our Guru Maharaj sings. Each and everyone is blessed with the Guru’s darshan so many times during the day and seen him in bone and flesh. If one sets the mind on the form of his Guru [oor oruvil un manathai niruthinal]. This is verily the easiest path to supreme god-realization. [Oor oruvana andha oom kara porul sathya agnyanandhamai brhamamai milirdhudumae] . If one meditates on that form of the Guru or Lord Krishna in our hearts, then one is bound to realize the truth in one’s own heart as well.
All the satsangs and other spiritual austerities are a means to bring the mind under control and to bring the mind to a state of unison. It is evident that how much ever practices any spiritual austerities; it will not bear any fruit if he does not have the grace of a guru or the Lord.
The end goal of all the satsangs is to make the devotee be a recipient of the Guru’s grace and accept the grace of the Lord which he showers eternally. Our Guru Maharaj says that if one desires to collect the rain-water but if he keeps the vessel inverted then he will not be able to collect the rain-water. So we need to keep our hearts open and in correct position so that we can be the recipients to the Guru’s grace. The one who receives that grace will be able to feel it forever and ever.
Sri Narayananji also outlined the significance of dakshinayana and this phase begins with Guru Poornina. We have all the auspicious functions happening in the Dakshinayana period. This phase lasts for six months.
The eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam talks about the beautiful precepts of Bhagavata Dharma. Bhagvatha Dharma is one of the simplest and easiest paths and is indeed rarest of the rare. It is kind of ironical that it is simple and common and yet rare. It is rare because it is simple. We are recipients of that dharma.
The eleventh canto then talks about Uddhava, who was as epitome of Bhakti. The Lord gave a discourse to Uddhava on the truths of life. He first elucidated the greatness of a Guru. He then speaks about Avadoota, on the path of sanyasa dharma. The Lord uses Avadoota as his mouth-piece to expound the greatness of Guru Krupa and how the teachings of a Guru manifest into various different forms.
The satsang then continued to reminisce Uddhava Gita, the discourse delivered by Lord Krishna to Uddhava when he asked the Lord to take him along with him to Vaikunta. The Lord declined his request and instead asked him to go to Badrikashramam and spent some time in recluse by renouncing everything. Upon hearing this, Uddhava asked the Lord if it was possible for him to do so. In reply to Uddhava’s question, the Lord discoursed on the Sanyasa Dharma to Uddhava.
The Lord in his discourse to Uddhava, advised him to renounce everything and that he will attain the Lord through a Guru. In the case of Uddhava, his Guru was Lord Krishna himself. It is said that “Krishnam Vandae Jagadguru : Lord Krishna is the all pervading Guru for everyone”.
He started off by explaining the Sanyasa Dharma with reference to the dialogue that happened between King Yadu and Avadoota. It is said that by narrating the incidents that happened in our ancestral lineage would instill more faith and devotion.
King Yadu was a highly successful king and an able administrator. He was however not very happy and seeing his people being busy and fully immersed in the mundane world made him very restless. He was not able to find peace anywhere. He was travelling all over the world to see if he can find someone who is a personification of peace. As he was travelling he saw a brahmin on the banks of Thalai Cauvery who was in a state of tranquility and his face always wore a smile. King Yadu on seeing this Brahman immediately prostrated to the Brahman and enquired on the Brahmin. The Brahmin was none other than Avadoota. King Yadu confided to the Brahmin that he was travelling throughout the world and that he was unable to find someone who is very poised and is in the state of equanimity. King Yadu then questioned the Brahmin as to what made him so contented and happy and drove him to the state of aplomb? He also acknowledged that it was indeed the good merits that he had accrued in his previous births destined him to come to the Brahmin who is the embodiment of peace.
King Yadu earnestly requested Avadoota to explain the reasons for his happiness. In reply to his question, Avadoota lucidly replied that when happiness is tied to a reason than that happiness is indeed not real happiness and that very happiness will not last long. To paraphrase if a sukam (comfort) is related to a ‘haetu’ (reason) then that happiness is not real. There is one comfort that is devoid of any reason. That is verily the ‘swaroopam’ (true self). If one realizes that the Atma is the eternal Ananda Swaroopam, then one needs no external reason to be happy. Any happiness that one derives through his sensual pleasures will definitely lead to sorrow. One will be able to decipher this Swaroopa Lakshanam only with sheer Guru’s grace. Avadoota also added that since the grace of a guru was abundant on him that made him really happy. It is generally said that when one has abundant Guru Krupa, then amidst any situation he will be able to derive happiness since he sees everything as his Guru and every action in his life as his Guru’s action. This is verily the Guru Tattva. After listening to Avadoota’s reply, King Yadu was very much surprised. He then asked another question to Avadootar requesting him to talk about his Guru.
Avadootar embarked on his discourse and started off –
“Prithvi vayu Aakasha aapah agni chandrama ravih|
Kapotho ajagarah sindhu pathango madhukrut Gajah||
Madhuha harino meenah pingalaa kurarorbhakah |
Kumari sarkruth sarpah oornanabihi Supaeshakruth”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.7.33-11.7.35]
He explained what he learnt from the 24 gurus mentioned above. The twenty-four Gurus are Earth, Air [Wind], Sky, Water, Moon, Sun, Pigeon(bird), Python, river, moth, honey-bee, elephant, honey-gatherer, deer, fish, courtesan, small sparrow [Osprey], maiden, forger of arrows, serpent, spider and wasp. He acknowledged that the whole world was his guru. The greatness of Avadoota Gita is that it applies to both Sanyasa and Gruhasta dharma. The number 24 carries significance. Srimad Bhagavatam talks about 24 avatars in Canto three even though the incarnation of the Lord is infinite [asankeya]. Also there are 24 aksharas in Gayathri Mantra. The three aksharas of the pranava signify the infinite Brahman.
Prithvi [earth] –
“Buothairakramyamaanopi dhhero dhaivavashanugaihi|
Tadh vidwannachalen maargaad anvasiksham kshithervratam [SB 11:7:37]
The Earth sustains millions of people on its own and also bears their burden as well. The mother Earth [Bhoomi Devi] is very patient and enduring in spite of the troubles she undergoes. The key learning from mother Earth is that however one abuses or mocks at someone, one needs to be patient like Mother Earth and also one needs to stringently adhere to the dharma or the spiritual sadhana that he undertakes and should not give up for any reason. A pious and wise man should learn from mountain, which is a modification of earth that he should devote all efforts to the service of others and make the welfare of others the sole reason for existence. The self-servient nature of Mother Earth is another attribute that we need to learn from Mother Earth. There is yet another great quality of Earth that applies to Guru and Mahans. The Earth takes all the weight of the people. Also it bears their wrong-doings and harassments as well and yet does not swerve from her determination. Akin to this a Guru takes all the burden of his disciples and alleviates him and makes him feel lighter. Avaddota thus explained his first guru to King Yadu.
Vishayeshvaavishan yogi naanaadharmeshu sarvatah
guna dosha vyapetaatmaa na visajjeta vaayuvat [SB 11.7.40]
He then embarked on his discourse about his second guru –Vayu. The air is all pervading and goes all around the world. It however has no affinity to anybody. It does not carry anything nor gets implicated with anything. It even goes inside one’s body. Akin to Vayu, one should be friends with everybody but should not be bonded to anybody. The air carries with it different aromas without any discrimination or preference but it never mixes them and thus remain neutral in both auspicious and inauspicious situations. When one is surrounded by innumerable objects which possess both good and bad qualities, one should learn to live like the air by not getting entangled with all these objects. Mahans are akin to Vayu. They mingle with everybody and go around many places, but do not have affinity to anyone and anyplace in particular and remain unbiased. The atma which is the very manifestation of the Lord resides in each and every living being and when it leaves the body, it leaves without any bonding on that person. From the wind, one should learn to move in this material world without attachment.
Aakasha [Sky] –
Everything rests within the sky [aakasha], but the sky does not mingle with anything. The stars, moon, sun and earth all exist within the sky and the sky has a big family. One should learn from sky to be of help and provide service to everybody but should not be dependent on anybody in particular and should remain untouched and unaffected. Even though the sky helps all the other elements to exist within it, the sky does not have any binding to these elements. Mahans also do a lot of help to the jivas but they do never own that help. They forget the help they offered that very moment itself. Mahans and the Aakasha do not express themselves. Avadootar says that he accepted the Sky as his third Guru.
Aapaha [Water] –
Svacchah prakrititah snigdho maadhuryasthiirtha bhur nrunaam |
munih punaati apaam mitram eekshopasparshakiirtanaih || [SB 11.7.44]
Water is the universal solvent since it is pure [nirmalam] and cools anybody who tastes it and also cleanses them. Similarly Mahans are a personification of compassion, soft by nature and seat of purity and resolve problems and purify everybody who get acquainted with them. They are the universal solvent and purify people by Kirtana, Upasparshah and by their mere darshan. When one is in the divine satsang of a Sadguru, the Mahan when expounds on the glories of the Lord and when chanting the Divine Names of the Lord, absolves all the worries of his devotees and makes them feel lighter. By means of kirtan, he quenches the thirst of samsara. Akin to how the touch of water ushers in coolness, Mahans’ divine Prasad will bestow all goodwill.
What does ‘iikshopasparshakiirthanaih’ mean? Iksaha connotes “sight”. By merely seeing water one can experience happiness – “darshanaadeva sadhavah”. To substantiate this, let’s take the summer season where there is no rain. In the midst of hot summer months, when the sky pours down two drops of water, it makes everyone happy. Similarly the sight of Mahans [divine darshan] bestows immense happiness. Valmiki in Ramayana has elucidated the importance of water. One cannot dispense water and similarly one cannot dispense Mahans because of their immense love [prema] for their devotees.
Agni [Fire] –
Agni burns everything. It consumes everything, both good and bad and yet is always pure. Agni is not selective when it burns something to ashes and is still clean. It is known as ‘Udara Bhajanam’. Akin to how stomach digests whatever one eats. Mahans mingle with all kinds of people who have all kinds of qualities in them and still they remain pure.
Fire is always glowing. Similarly Mahans also have a ‘tejas’ and the glow in them is because of the penance.
After reminiscing on the first five Gurus of the Avadoota Gita, the satsang closed with prayers and Namasankitan.