Glory of Vyasa
Of all Gurus and Sadhus, the greatest among the Gurus in Sanatana Dharma is Sage Vyasa, popularly known as Veda Vyasa. Earlier, there was a discussion between the Rishis as to which Avatar of the Lord is indeed the greatest. The Lord has taken ten avatars as far as many people are considered. Even though Srimad Bhagavatam describes the twenty four avatars of the Lord in great detail, the Lord is infinite – “Avatarah hi asankhyeya”. The infinite Lord took twenty four avatars says Srimad Bhagavatam. The Mahatmas on the banks of river Saraswathi discuss the twenty four avatars of the Lord and concluded that none of the Lord’s manifestations can be compared to the incarnation of Sage Vyasacharya. Sage Veda Vyasa was born to a devout couple, Parashara and Satyavati on the auspicious day of Ashada Poornima. Sage Veda Vyasa’s incarnation is considered very important because, but for the avatar of the Lord as Sage Vyasa, the world wouldn’t have come to know about the incarnations of the Lord. It is verily for this reason that Sage Vyasa’s incarnation is considered to be the greatest. It is verily because of Sage Veda Vyasa, that the Vedas are still alive and it was he who divided the Vedas into four parts, the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharvana Vedas. Vedas expound the Yagnas and the procedures to do these sacrifices and rituals with the right Mantras are these four Vedas. The term Rick connotes to some kind of sloka and Rig Veda contains these entire Ricks’ to invite the Lord. The term Sama relates to all these Ricks coupled with music, while Yajur veda speaks about the procedures to perform all the sacrifices [Yagnas]. Sage Veda Vyasa divided the Vedas into four giving them proper lineages along with a Guru for each of them. Rig Veda was given to Paila Maharishi, Yajur Veda was handed over to Vaishampayana, Sama veda to Jaimini and Atharvana Veda to Sage Sumanth.
Sage Jaimini is addressed as a poet. Paila and Vaishampayana are renowned Rishis but Jaimini is a poet. The reason for Jaimini being addressed as a poet by Sage Suta Pouranika is verily because he enjoys the Sama Veda since he is a connoisseur in music. Sama Veda is all about music and a poet is an aficionado in music. It was verily Sage Veda Vyasa who divided the Vedas into four – Shisyaihi Prathishyaihi Tatshisyaihi”; and gave a beautiful lineage to all the Vedas. It is because of Sage Veda Vyasa that devotees reminisce and take part in satsangs. For people who were not capable of learning the Vedas and have no other recourse, he bestowed the Ithihasa Mahabharata which is also known as the Panchamo Veda and the eighteen Puranas. It is verily because of Sage Veda Vyasa that makes Sanatana Dharma still alive in today’s age.
“Guru Brahma Guru Vishnuhu Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Shakshath Para Brahma Tasmai Sri Guravae Namaha”
It is said that Guru is verily the creator, sustainer and destroyer [Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva]. He is an embodiment of all Devas and one should propitiate to that Guru who is verily the Brahman.
Achatur vadano brahma dvibAhuraparo harih
aphaAla lochanashambuh bhagavAn bAdarAyaNi ||
Sage Vyasa is verily Lord Brahma but the only difference is that he does not have four faces, he is verily Lord Vishnu without four arms as Sage Vyasa only possess two arms [vibhahu ] and he is truly Lord Shiva and is devoid of the third eye [aphala lochana].
With the above two slokas, one can draw a corollary that Guru is verily Sage Veda Vyasa and that explains why Vyasa Poornima is celebrates as Guru Poornima. Sage Vyasa was born as a result of intense penance by Parasara Maharishi.
It is said that during the third phase of Dwapara Yuga, all the Rishis came to the banks of river Saraswathi and were contemplating on the Vedas future since it was the advent of Kali Yuga and thus propitiated to Lord Vishnu, who came in front of them and assured them that he will be born to safeguard the Vedas and protect the Dharma. The Rishis then nominated Parashara Maharishi, the greatest among the Rishis to perform the penance. Even Lord Brahma had to do that penance in order to do the creation. Lord Krishna’s parents had to penance for three births [janmas] for Krishna to be born – Prsihni Sutapa, Aditi Kashyapa and Devaki Vasudeva. The Lord then came in front of Parashara and told him that he will be born to him. Hearing this, Sage Parashara was perplexed since he was a Brahmachari. Once when he was traveling on a boat, he was enticed by the boatman’s daughter Sathyavati who was steering the boat. Sathyavati bowed down to Parashara and Sage Vyasa was thus born to Parashara and Sathyavati as a sixteen year old boy. He spoke about the Lord’s promise to Sage Parashara. He was born as Ayonija akin to Sage Suka. It is said that Sage Vyasa appears and disappears in Mahabharatha as an Avirbhaham akin to Lord Krishna [Taasaam aavirabooh chourihi].
Banasura – Part 2
Following a short round of introductions, Shwethaji from Dallas rendered the Guru Ashtakam and then Sanjev from Dallas continued on Banasura’s discourse.
The divine mother Sita was separated from Lord Rama and it was verily the story narrated by Lava and Kusha that brought the divine mother back to Lord Rama. This lucidly shows the greatness of Katha Shravana that the Lord himself experienced. When Sita Mata was in recluse in Ashoka Vana, she was all set to end her life and it was Hanumanji who was a little hesitant to come in front of her and so he sat between the branches of a tree and sang the divine glories of Lord Rama which were nectarine droplets to the divine mother. Hanumanji thus saved the life of Sita Mata by extolling the divine glories of the Lord. It is verily by the divine grace of the Lord that weekly satsangs happen where the divine names of the Lord are chanted and the satsangs also expounds on the divine plays of the Lord.
Our Sanatana Dharma has the Vedas as its foundation. In spite of giving all the Puranas and Ithihasas, Sage Veda Vyasa was experiencing distress and per the advice of Sage Narada elucidated on the divine plays of the Lord and thus Srimad Bhagavatham was born. This Purana is the only antidote for the evil effects of Kali Yuga and is the fruit of the Vedas. Lord Krishna completed his divine plays on the earth and was getting ready to depart to Vaikunta, he transferred all his love, power and grace into Srimad Bhagavatam and thus every syllable in that scripture is indeed Lord Krishna. The Devas requested to exchange Srimad Bhagavatham with the Devamrtha and Sage Sukha belittled their request by saying that a worthless glass can never be compared to a priceless gem. One is absolved of all sins by merely prostrating and worshipping Srimad Bhagavatam. It is a repository of numerous Geethams and most importantly the stutis done by the Vedas themselves. This purana is often rendered for a period of seven days known as Sapthaham. Padma Purana one of the eighteen puranas has chapters that glorify Srimad Bhagavatham and when one attends a Sapthaham he is completely absolved of all sins and that Lord Krishna the heart. Just by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam for seven days King Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna attained liberation. By merely listening to Srimad Bhagavatam for seven days, Dundukari was relieved of all the atrocious sins that he had committed.
One’s real self [Swaroopa] is to always seek for happiness that is devoid of any sorrow. Sachidanandam is the Lord’s real swaroopa. The terms ‘Sath’, ‘Chith’ and ‘Anandam’ constitute to Sachidanandam. The term ‘Sath’ refers existence, ‘Chith’ relates to intellect and ‘Anandam’ is happiness. One is aware of Sath and Chith but fail to realize that the Anandam is indeed Lord Krishna himself. The tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam lucidly shows that Lord Krishna was always filled with happiness [Anandam]. The Vedas contain everything in it. Some of the mantras have profound meaning and is really hard to comprehend them.
There is a mantra –“Yo asmin dweshti yancha vayam dismahaha” and one who has hatred against the Lord should not stand in front of the Lord. If we misspell the words wrongly, then it might even bring destruction on us. That is verily the reason why one should not approach the Lord directly. A Sadguru is one who helps us comprehend the meaning of the Vedas and narrates the divine glories of the Lord and conducts festivals for the Lord. One should surrender to the holy feet of the Guru, one who is constant communion with the Lord and by serving the Sad Guru will be the sure straight path to lead Lord Krishna. When we do service to the servant of the Sadguru, it reaches both the Lord and Sadguru, while if we do service to the Lord alone, it reaches the Lord alone. It is easy to do service to the Lord but it is extremely difficult to be in the service of a Sad Guru.
Sanjevji then summarized the last week’s lecture on Banasura. He conquered the world with his ten thousand hands which he got as a benediction from Lord Shiva’s due to intense penance. He was very powerful and wanted to with someone of equal strength. Meanwhile, Aniruddha, Krishna’s grandson wanted to marry Banasura’s daughter Usha, and was staying in her courtyard without Banasura’s knowledge. Banasura was furious after hearing this and imprisoned Aniruddha with his Naga Astram.
Krishna and his mighty army came to rescue Aniruudha and a huge battle that ensued between the Yadavas and the Asuras. Lord Shiva and Karthikeya fought on behalf of Banasura. Lord Krishna was forced to his yawning weapon to make Lord Shiva transition to a sleep state. After Lord Shiva’s army was driven away, the Shivajwara appeared throwing fire in all directions and it was soon defeated by Vishnujwara and Lord Krishna cut Banasura’s hands with his Chakrayudha. Uma, Lord Shiva’s wife was not able to witness this scene and woke up Lord Shiva and requested him to save Banasura.
Lord Shiva thus did a stuti to the Lord offering his prostrations and thus offered his praises on the Lord in the form of stuthi. It is a known precept that Hari and Hara are the one and the same. They can read each other’s mind very lucidly.
tvam hi brahma param jyotir ghuDham brahmaaNi vanmaye
yham pashyanti amalatmana akasham iva kevalam
nabir nabho agnir mukam ambu retoh dyauH sirSham asaH shrutir anghrir urvi
chandro mano yasya dRig arka atma aham samudhro jaTharam bhujendraH
romaNi yasyauSadhayo ambu vaahaH kesa virincho dhiSaNa visargaH
praja patir hRudayam yasya dharmaH sa vai bhavan puruSo loka kalpaH
tavavataro yam akuNTha dhaman dharmasya guptyai jagato hitaya
vayam cha sarve bhavatanubhavita vibhavayamo bhuvanani saptha
tavavatharo yam akuNTha dhaman dharmasya guptyai jagato hitaya
vayam ca sarve bhavatanubhavita vibhavayamo bhuvanani sapta
deva dattam imam labdhva nRulokam ajitendhriyaH
yho nadriyeta tvat padau sa shocyo hy atma vanchakaH
aham brahmatha vibudha munayas camalashayaH
sarvatmana prapanas tvam atmanam preSTham ishvaram [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.63.34-43]
In one of our Guru Maharaj’s compositions, there is a verse “Un Mayai ennum peyai oru ganathil villaki”, where our Guru Mahraj requested the Lord to free one from material life.
Lord Shiva then told the Lord that Banasura was his dear and faithful follower and that he has been bestowed him with a boon to emancipate him from all fears and requested him to grant him y akin to the Lord’s grace on Lord Prahalada. The Lord immediately acknowledged to Lord Shiva’s request and promised him that he will not slay Banasura, the son of Virochana and re-iterated his promise that he made to Prahalada that he would kill any of his descendants. He also added that he severed Banasura’s arms to subdue his ego. Banasura who earlier used to accompany him in his musical dance performances stopped playing Mrudangam after he got his ten thousand arms and stopped singing bhajans and now that Banasura had only four arms, he had started to do kirtans again. Kunti in her divine hymns to Lord Krishna sings –
“ Janmaishwarya shutha shibihi raedha mana madha puman|
naivarhath yabidhatum vai thvam akinchana gocharam”||
In one of our Guru Maharaj’s compositions known as Kali Dharma Undhiyar, it is said that “Jeevan Kudiyirukum chinna kutilayae upacharam thevaillai undi para” “Upayogam mattil andu undi para”
The body is verily the house of Jeeva [Soul] and needs no unnecessary fittings and needs to have only what is required. The Lord left Banasura with four hands and immune to old age and death. The Lord also told Lord Shiva that Banasura would be conferred with a name known as “Mahakalan” and that will reside in Mount Kailash. Lord Krishna killed Banasura’s mighty army since they were a huge burden to the earth. Banasura then offered obeisance to Lord Krishna by touching his head to the ground. He then seated his Aniruddha and the bride Usha on the chariot and brought them before the Lord. Lord Krishna then took leave from Lord Shiva and departed to the capitol Dwaraka which was lavishly decorated to welcome the Lord. Aniruddha and Usha lived happily ever after.
It is said in Srimad Bhagavatham that one cannot comprehend Lord Krishna for those who do not completely surrender to a Guru. For people who perform penance with the hope of attaining Lord Krishna will never get a chance to serve the Lord’s devotees. Only Guru Bhakti can usher Krishna Bhakti and cannot be got by directly worshipping Lord Krishna and one can reach Lord Krishna by doing service to Sadgurus.
The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.