In one of the Azhwar’s divine hyms, Tirumalai –
“kurangugal maliyae nuka kulithtatam poranditodi
tharanga neer kadigal utra salamilla anilam polaen
marangal pol valiyainenjai vanjanen nenju thannal
aranganaar katchiyael insaival thondrinenae”
sings Thondaradipodiazhwar. Lord Rama wanted to lay the bridge to go to Sri Lanka to meet Sita Devi and fight Ravana. He prostrated to ‘Samudra Raja’ (the king of the oceans) for three days but the latter did not budge. Hence the Lord immediately took his bow to wage a war against Samudhra Raja. Finally the latter gave in and the Lord ordained the construction of the bridge with monkeys as the workers. The simians carried huge rocks and mountains to put it on water to form a path. There was a little squirrel and it also wanted to take part in the bridge construction and so it went to the waters. Lord Rama was supervising the construction and the squirrel was not deterred by their inability to life the heavy rocks and instead they dipped themselves in the water and went to ashore and rolled over the mud and again took a dip in the water. By doing this repeatedly the squirrels did the plastering for the bridge by filling the mud and sand between the rocks. The Lord looked at them and poured his compassion on the squirrels.
No deed of the devotee of the Lord and our Guru Maharaj and the happiness of our Takurji can be belittled. One should always earnestly desire to be in the service of our Guru Maharaj and Takurji. We should not only chant the Divine Names of the Lord, but also make others chant the same – “Guru Seva cha sankalpa he chi majje poorna tapaha”. The above line connotes the desire by a devotee to be in the service of his Guru for life. Now that leads to a question. Can we ever do Guru Seva? No. we can never do Guru Seva. Who are we to do Guru Seva?
In Kuchela Upakhyana in Srimad Bhagavatam, the mood of the Lord is beautifully outlined by Sage Suka. Lord Krishna becomes a “Bhakta Bhakta” and also becomes a Paramatma Himself. His moods are simultaneously captured by Sage Suka.
When Kuchela goes to Lord Krishna’s court, the Lord welcomes and brings him in. He immediately washes his feet and puts drops of water on his forehead and caresses Sudama. The women in Krishna’s palace were wondering who Kuchela was since he appeared to be a mendicant, who did not have any proper clothing – “Avadootena bikshunaa”. Lord Krishna immediately sensed their feeling and did not talk to them but he summoned Rukmini and asked her to fan ‘the mendicant’! –“Shakshath Rukmini chaamara vyajanena cha”. Kuchela went and sat in a corner and the Lord immediately started speaking to Sudama and enquired about his well-being and the welfare of his family. Sage Suka while introducing Sudama says Krishna had a friend Sudama who was an exponent in Vedas and completely detached from sensual enjoyment –
Krishnasyaasiith sakaa kaschith braahmano brahma vithamaha
Virakta Indriyaarthateshu Prashaantaatma Jitendriyah|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 10.80.6]
Sage Sukha elucidated the life-history to portray his character and the greatness of Guru’s Grace and not to show how Kuchela became a wealthy person by eating three mouthful of beaten rice. Lord Krishna also ratifies this in saying, “Oh Kuchela, I know all about you, even though you are in penury, you wouldn’t desire for money since you have won over your senses”
“Brahman Brahmavithamaha” – He was a Brahmin who had the experiences of Brahman directly and a great Jnani who is bereft of any material desires and has absolute control of his senses.
The Lord goes on to show that he is the very Paramatma to Kuchela. He confides in Kuchela, that in spite of creating the entire universe, he does not derive any happiness from these actions. He preaches to Kuchela that no amount of Yoga, Tapas or austerity would lead him to happiness and it is verily the service to Guru that would usher happiness.
naham ijya prajatibyam tapospashamena seva va|
tushyeyam sarva butatma guru shusrushaya yatha|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 10.80.34]
The Lord told Kuchela, that he becomes instantly happy when one is in the service of his Guru and that is the only way to please the Lord, he himself said. The Lord then immediately turned into a bhakta. He turned to his friend and reminisced about how the Lord and Kuchela did service to their Guru in their childhood days. The Lord did not stop reminiscing about their Guru Maharaj but also talked about their Guru Matha, the personification of mother. The alternation between Bhavas as a friend and as Paramatma is beautifully portrayed in Kuchela Charitra. The Guru Matha of Krishna and Sudama had once asked them to go to forest to get twigs –‘ indanam’ used in the cooking and worship. It was dusk and as they were about to depart and head home, an unseasonal storm began and it was completely dark. They did not want the twigs to get wet and so went and took shelter under a tree and spent the night there. When it was dawn, the Guru, Sandeepani came running in search of them. This goes to show that when the devotee is in a predicament, the Guru suffers more than the disciple himself.
The Guru fondly looked at them and felt bad that they suffered for his sake and Sandeepani says that he is indebted to Lord Krishna and Kuchela and drenched the boys with the immense compassion of Guru’s grace. Sandeepani immediately raised his hands and blessed them saying that whatever they learnt will come to use in right moment.
Lord Krishna an embodiment of peace and Kuchela a personification of tranquility were able to remain happy always because of the benediction of their Guru, Sandeepani.
“Guruor Anugrahenaiva puman purnaha prashantayae”
The Service that one does to a Guru is really what makes the Lord immensely happy. But as we discussed above, who are we to render service to Guru.
The Abhang author here says how one can only resolve to perform service to the Sadguru. All we can do is have a desire [sankalpa] to be in the service of Guru.
“Guru Seva cha sankalpa hemchi maazem purna tapaha”
“I am not fit to do any service to the Lord so at least aspire in my heart to do Kainkarya”, sings Shantisvara who composed this Abhang.
Whenever we perform a pooja, we do what is known as Sankalpam and say
“mamo partha samastha durithakshayadwara shri parameshwara preethyartham ….”
Before the start of Pooja, one takes a vow that he would do this pooja. That is verily a Sankalpam. Sankalpam is done as a resolve to express our desire to do something. So, the Abhang says, one can (and should) simply resolve to do Guru Seva. When this resolve is strong, the Guru makes him perform Guru Seva and Bhagavan’s Seva, and becomes elated, and bestows everything in return! Such is his compassion!
Let us immensely thank our Guru Maharaj and Takurji for keeping us in this comfortable state and showering with Nama and satsangs.
The satsangs ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.