Sri Narayananji delivered a lecture on the glory of Vachika Saranagathi and Guru Padukas.
When we talk about the qualities of the lord, it doesn’t refer to the qualities that normal mortals like us possess. We term the qualities of the lord as “Kalyana Gunas” they refer to the very auspicious qualities of the lord. The lord is sarvagyan – all knowning, sarva shaktan – all powerful and above all he has a greatest quality – sarvacharanyatva- the lord gives refugee unto anyone who falls at his feet, no matter what. All of us normally follow some vratahs [fasting] Ekadasi vratha, Saturday fasting so on and so forth but when In Ramayana, when the lord came down as Rama, he had one vratha. It was verily that he would not forsake anyone who fell at his feet. No Not that. It was not a Vratha that he took. He would not forsake anyone even if he/she befriended him.
mithra bhAvanae sam praptai nathyajeyam kathanjana – I will never forsake anyone who falls at my feet but he goes one step further and says – Sakrit Eva prapannAya tavAsmi iti cha yAchatE. abhayam sarva bhootEbhyO dadami Etat vratam mama
Sakrit Eva PrapannAya—Even if a person surrenders to the lord once, the lord says that he will never forsake him. But what does surrender mean here? Does it refer to falling at the feet of Lord Rama, no. tavAsmi iti cha yAchatE – Surrender means calling out to Rama as “Oh Rama, I am yours. I belong in the same team as you”.
Even someone says so Lord Rama says “Abhayam”- The lord protects anyone who says “Oh Rama, I am yours.” It can be a squirrel, monkey, Gorilla. I will give abhayam to anyone who says “Tavasmi” – I am yours.
Etat vratam mama – This is my vratam he says.
And Mahatmas, when they do a Vyakyana, they say – “Oh Lord Rama, I am yours”. They say that you don’t need to say these many words. It is verily enough to say just “Rama” and Lord Rama will say that you are mine. All one has to do is to just call out “Rama” and that the lord will complete the sentence and not only that, he will complete our life for us. Sharanagathi here is Vachika Saranagathi.
Surrendering unto the holy feet of the lord is indeed Saranagathi but chanting the lord’s names is the easiest step to Saranagathi . It is called Vachika Saranagathi. The moment we chant Rama, it is the duty of the lord to take care of us and it is the vratha that the lord has undertaken in that incarnation that he has come down as Lord Rama. That is the greatness of Vachika Saranagathi. Lord Krishna’s birth is no different. Even before Lord Krishna is born, the Devas came down and they visit the cell in which Vasudeva and Devaki were imprisoned. The Devas go the prison because it is totally illuminated. And who illuminated it? Was it Kamsa? No. It was Devaki and it was by her sheer presence.
The very presence of Devaki illuminated the entire prison verily because of the presence of Lord inside Devaki’s womb. The moment Krishna Avatar started, the Devas were never in their homes. They were waiting to see Krishna Leela to happen and shower flowers on the lord. A few came down as Gopas and Gopis and few stood as mere audience in the pavilion itself. It is not that they came down after Krishna was born, but they came before he was born and started singing his glories –
Sathyvratam- It is as if the Devas are reminding the lord that he was the same lord who was Sathyavratha in his previous birth as Lord Rama.
Sathyaparam: They clearly say that Sathyaparam is verily Krishna. When Srimad Bhagavatam began with “Janmadhyasya yatho”
Vyasa charya makes a clarion call to everyone and requests everyone to come together to meditate on that truth [Satyam] which is supreme and that is verily Bhagawan. Whatever we perceive through our eyes is not indeed true throughout. We see the sun in the morning. But the sun is not seen in the night and hence it is true for one portion of the day only. Whatever we hear is again not true throughout. Everything varies based on time, space and person. The only thing that is true in all these three dimensions is the supreme truth – ‘Satyam param deemahi’. He has however not given a form and name to the truth.
Sage Suka says that “Sathyavratam sathyaparam” is one who is in Devaki’s womb is verily the supreme truth and hence surrender unto that truth- ‘Sathyatmakam tvan charanam prapannaha’.
They say surrender is not falling at the feet or anything…
tathA na te mAdhava tAvakAh kvachid bhrashyanti mArgAt tvayi baddha sauhrudAh |
tvayAbhiguptA vicharanti nirbhayA vinAyakAnIkapa murdhasu prabho || [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.33]
tathA na te mAdhava tAvakAh – When one calls out ‘Hey Madhva, hey Gopala Hey Premika Varada’ – “I am yours”. What does Krishna do – bhrashyanti mArgAt tvayi baddha sauhrudAh” Krishna does not forsake them at all. Even when someone chants the divine names of the lord very rarely [kvacith], Lord Krishna will bring straighten their ways even when they wander in some forbidden path. That is the greatness of Vachika Saranagathi – the very path of surrender through divine names. Calling out the lord’s names will verily do the trick.
Bodendral once clarified to his devotee’s questions on the greatness of Nama Sankirtan, that one is blessed with the taste of Nama in his lips because of the good merits that one has accrued in the past births.
Ajamila called out Narayana during his final moments because he called out Narayana a myriad times in his life. The repetition [Avarthi] of the name Narayana all throughout his life made him call out Narayana during his final moments of his life. Even though he only called his tenth son, who was named Narayana, the lord came down running during Ajamila’s final moments. It is said that he named his last son as Narayana only due to the good merits that he had accrued in his past births. Had Ajamila named his tenth son with some other name, there wouldn’t have been Ajamila charitra for all of us to reminisce today.
The lord’s divine names come in our lips only because of the good merits we have accrued in the past births. Saranagathi – the very path of surrender to the lord, however needs to be done with the blessings of a Sadguru. Ramanujacharya performed Sharanagathi on the auspicious day of Panguni Uthram. On all other days, both Perumal and Thayar are in separate sanctum [Sankoyil Nachiar]. There is no chance of Thayar being close to the lord except on the day of Panguni Uthram. When he did Sharanagathi to Lord Ranaganatha, he chose to do it through someone who can lead to the lord and so the lord chose Panguni Uthram to do Prapatti.
In the path of Vachika Sharanagathi, the Acharya is the one who gives us the divine names. When expounding on the greatness of the divine names it is said that –
Shuka sanakadika vanchita meta sakala surasura durlabham krupaya
The divine names is indeed rare for the greatest of the greatest Devas [sakala surasura durlabham], and is very much liked my Sage Suka. When a Sadguru blesses his devotee with divine names, he also gives away a portion of infinite love and compassion, prema [divine love] unto the devotee. A Sadguru when he gives away a portion of divine love and compassion to his devotees, the infinite love and compassion in him never diminishes since something that is infinite never decreases in magnitude – [Poornamadha poornamidam poorna].
He blesses the divine names on a devotee merely by his divine glance [Prema rasam dadau kataksha dikshaya]. Compassion and divine love are his inherent qualities [Swabhava]. He showers that divine love to his devotees by his mere glance and walks away. The devotee is then forever at the feet of Sri Swamiji – “Veezhndavar endrum mindadhu dhan undo”. Here Mindadhu connotes ‘coming back’. The phrase translates to “After having the darshan of a Sadguru, can one wake up and get back to their normal chores after getting embraced by the grace of a Sadguru”. The phrase ‘normal chores’ is a synonym for Samsara. The beauty is that the moment one is in the divine association with a Sadguru, he will not let go of the devotee even if devotee intends to go away from him.
Periyavachanpillai was a great Mahatma. He had a disciple who was very devoted to his Guru. He however had some negative tendencies and at one point he felt that he was not doing anything that would bring good to his Sadguru. He decided to lead a mundane life since he didn’t want to bring any blemish to his Guru. He was under the opine that whatever he did only brought disrepute and ill fame to his Sadguru and he decided to run away. He wrote a note to his Guru and left his Sadguru’s ashram. He was about to cross the village and he saw his Sadguru standing at the corner of the village. Seeing the Sadguru, the devotee started to weep unable to control his anguish in his heart. His Guru patted and consoled the devotee and looked at the devotee and said “Oh my son, even if you decide to leave me and go, how can I ever let you go.” The Sadguru further added that the moment a devotee comes to a Sadguru, it is the responsibility of the Sadguru to take care of his devotee and keep him on his shadow all the time. The devotee immediately prostrated unto his Guru and returned back. The eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam beautifully depicts the greatness of a Guru. The Avadoota Gita’s main precept is all about the grace of a Guru. Uddava was devastated when he heard that Lord Krishna was going to depart to Vaikunta. He pleaded to Lord Krishna to not go back and questioned the fate of all the people without the lord’s presence. He further added that he won over the Maya by par taking the leftover food from the lord’s plate. Lord Krishna did not adhere to Uddava’s request and advised him to embrace the path of sanyasa. Here Lord Krishna is verily Uddava’s Guru and he subtly shows that a Guru need not be in the physical form always. A guru is in no doubt in a six foot form but it is not necessary that he manifest in this form always. He then tells Uddava that his presence and blessings can be always felt wherever he is but Uddava was unable to comprehend this. The lord was a little shy to elaborate and hence Lord Krishna began elaborating about Avadoota. When King Yadu met Avadoota, he found that Avadoota was happy beyond limits. When King Yadu questioned the reason for Avadoota’s happiness, who didn’t even had a piece of cloth on him, replied that he was happy because of sheer Guru’s grace. King Yadu was surprised hearing Avadoota’s reply since there were no sign of opulence in him. So King Yadu questioned Kig Yadu’s manifestation of Guru’s grace. Avadoota beautifully replied that the smile on his face is verily the sign of Guru’s grace. Avadoota saw Guru’s Grace everywhere. When he slept, he saw the sleeping mat verily as his Guru. When a wind blew, he thought of it as his Guru embracing him. Lord Krishna wanted Uddava to perceive everything as Guru’s grace. But Uddhava was not convinced. He spoke volumes of Vedanta and truth. At the end after expounding in detail about Guru’s Grace, Lord Krishna asked Uddava to go to Badrikashrama. He also blessed him with his holy Padukas. He assured Uddava that his presence can be felt all the time through the Padukas and asked Uddava to take it along with him. That was when Uddava realized that Lord Krishna was his Guru. Krishna boldly said that he is verily his Guru and blessed him with his Padukas and advised him to be in the close proximity [Sannidhya] of the Padhukas.
“Kamayae naham theertha snanam kamayae naham kshetra yatra ”
“Kamayae na ham shakshatkaram kamayae tava yaeva padhuka samibyam”
A Guru manifests himself in the form of Padukas. Being in the close proximity of the Padukas will bestow all kinds of auspiciousness. Infact Padukas are more powerful than the Guru himself. There was a devotee in Tuticorin who was yearning to have Sri Swamiji’s darshan. He was a little boy and was unsure as to how to request for Swamiji’s darshan. He went and prayed to the holy Padukas of Sri Swamiji.
Sri Swamiji was at Salem then and was getting ready to head back to Chennai and instead requested the driver to change direction to Tuticorin. Ramayana clearly shows that Dasaratha’s Rajya was not blemish free but the Paduka Rajya was truly blemishless. When Bharatha did Paduka Pattabishekam and place the Paduka on the throne, he would offer everything to Padukas and thus ruled Ayodhya. That was verily why it was blemishless.
The satsang concluded with Prayers and Namasankirtan.