Apr 27: Greatness of Mahatmas – 1

27 Apr

By the blessings of Sri Swamiji HH Muralidhara Swamiji and with the infinite compassion of Takurji, Sri Madhuri Sakhi Sametha Sri Premika Varadan we are all here for this wonderful Friday evening satsang, where all of us get-together to chant the divine names and listen to the divine glories of the lord as well as the Diyva Charitras of great Mahatmas, devotees of the lord and that verily is Bhagavata Dharma. Interesting fact about Dharma is the Vedas in their first principles (in the basic things to follow)in Upanishads,’Sathyam vada dharmam chara’ – Speaking the truth no matter what and one should catch hold of the truth and speak the truth and truth alone. That’s verily what the Vedas ordain us to do. It then says, ‘dharmam chara’- Walk in the path of dharma. The verbs used in these two statements are very interesting. First one is about speaking the truth and the second one is about walking the path. There is no use talking about dharma and only walk in the path of dharma. However, Bhagavata Dharma is an exception here, where the greatness of Bhagavata Dharma is you don’t even need to take an effort to walk the path of this dharma. There is no need to a ‘dharmam chara’  if that dharma is Bhagavata Dharma. It is said ‘Dharmam shrunu dharmam vada’ and said in  Srimad Bhagavatam  ‘shrutho anupathithO dhyAtho aadruthOvA anumOdithah” that by merely listening and speaking of Bhagavata Dharma is alone enough and that is the greatness of this dharma. By following Bhagavata Dharma it will automatically take us in the path of dharma. “swanushtitasya dharmasya samsiddhi hari toshanam”. The purport of this sloka is that if one follows the path of Bhagavata Dharma religiously which is chanting the divine names, listening to the lord’s divine glories and listening to Divya Charitram of Mahatmas, that will automatically please the lord (samsiddihi hari tOshanam) and it will automatically make us tread on the path of dharma. That is indeed the greatness of Bhagavata Dharma and all of us are indeed very very fortunate to be bestowed with this dharma and be in the safe hands of Sri Swamiji who is the harbinger of this dharma, who shows us the path of Bhagavan Nama Sankirtan and Katha Shravanam.

Sri Swamiji recently visited the ashram of Sri Abhedananda in Thirvuavanthapuram and performed a mass-prayer right outside the sanctum. It was here that Sri Abhedananda lived all his life.  His biography was published recently.  Sri Abhedananda being  a house-holder, left all of them and went in search of the truth. He went to Thiruvanamalai where he met Sage Ramana and it was Ramana Bhagavan who asked him to catch hold of Mahamantra and continue to chant it. He chanted the divine names for a few hours in a day. One day someone met him and disclosed a problem of theirs to him. He prayed with Mahamantra and the problem was instantly solved.  That’s when he realized the greatness of Mahamantra. He dedicated his life for the propagation of Mahamantra. He came back to Thiruvanathapuram after going around the holy land of Bharath. Many of them requested him to create a big ashram. Ashram is usually a place of divine sanctity where through all spiritual injunctions followed through the Sadhanas (japa, veda parayana and the mantras that are being chanted in ashram), the whole area gets sanctified and is divinely charged. That’s how an ashram is supposed to be. The response that Sri Abhedananda gave when his devotees asked him to build a huge ashram was very astonishing.

He said that he doesn’t want to establish an Ashram where all the divinity is accumulated, instead ordained all the devotees to make each of their homes verily Ashrams, a spiritual power house by chanting the divine names in each of their homes. In the early 1950, one morning he started the Akanda Mahamantra Japa. He lit a lamp  and started the Mahamantra with a tambura. He continued to chant the Mahamantra and declared that this Akanda Mahamantra would go on by stringing the Tambura in a relay fashion. The lamp that was lit then is still glowing with the Akanda Mahamantra still being chanted  till date. Sri Swamiji  says that the spiritual vibes that are being created in that spiritual sanctum cannot be described by words. Our Madhurapuri Ashram was consecrated on November 8 2006 with Akanda NamaSankirtan and Akanda Nama is being chanted daily 12 hours a day and that happens to  be the nucleus of the huge powerhouse of Nama that keeps growing day by day.

 

In the kirtan ‘Kannanai kadhal seivirE’ where Sri Swamiji beckons to love Lord Krishna. He goes to say about all the Mahatmas who descended on this earth.  He goes to speak about the Mahatmas even though  they were in different states,  had different opinions, ideologies and philosophies. Their eventual goal was Krishna. Sri Swamiji starts to speak about Adi Shankara, Bhagawat Ramanuja and  Madhwacharya.All these 3 Mahatams had different philosophies and were at war with each other on the philosophies front,  but for the object of worship there was no difference of thoughts. It was verily Krishna. Likewise he goes on to speak about various Mahtmaas whose object of worship was Krishna and they showered pure unconditional love on Lord Krishna. This kirtan our Sri Swamiji gives his Bhavas.  One day Sri Swamiji was in that depth of Krishna bhakti in the Bhagavatha Bhavanam of Madhurapuri Ashram. Right from the morning he was sitting right in the front of Sri Thakurji and beheld his beauty. He performed the pooja for holy padukas and for the numerous Salagramas, which are special  Archa Moorthys (Vigrahas) that are found in the banks of Gantaki river in Pulalgashrama. These Murthis have Vishnu Hamsa and there are numerous Salagramas in Sri Swamiji’s pooja. During Thirumanjamam, pooja is performed to Padhukas and all Salagramas. That morning Sri Swamiji performed the Abhikshekam for Padhukas and Salagramas. Right from the  morning, he was having this bhava. The words “Kannanai Kadha Seivirae in the raga Shanmugapriya” came from Thakurji and was rising from Sri Swamiji’s heart all the way to his throat and to the lips. This bhava was troubling him throughout the Pooja and right after Pooja, he sang this kirtan unto Thakurji and after pouring the bhava as a kirtan he was relieved. That’s how blessed we are  since we have this kirtan today for all of us to enjoy. Sri Swamiji says  that it was a trouble (avastai) for him to keep the bhava within his heart which was gushing out and eventually let it out in the form of a kirtan. This goes to show the Bhava of Mahatmas.

Mahatmas are in no normal plane. They are in a sublime elevated state all the way and rarely want to come down. When Vivekananda wrote a sloka about Ramakrishna Paramahamsa during the housewarming ceremony of one of the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna . This happened after Sri Ramakrishna had shed his mortal coil. The holy ash was taken by Vivekananda and consecrated there.  It was taken as a procession and was placed in the devotee’s home.  At that instant, a sloka came out of Sri Vivekananda.

 

This sloka came out from Vivekananda:  “Sthapakaya cha dharmasya sarva dharma svaroopine  avatara varishtaya ramakrishnaya the namah “. He is called Ramakrishna who is the incarnation of the lord who established Dharma. Swami Vivekandana says Ramakrishna Paramahamsa came down to establish the dharma. The next term he puts to qualify that Paramahamsa was an embodiment of all Dharma-”Avathara Varishataya”. Mahatamas descend on this earth now and then. Some may be Yoga Brhastas.  Those who had done sadhanas in past lives but died without completing will be born again to continue it and at some point in time, they reap the fruit of the Sadhanas and get some occult powers or they attain the supreme truth due to the fruition of the Sadhanas and they are Mahatmas. On the other hand, Avatara Pursusahas are not  created. Sri Swamiji beautifully says that one cannot become an Avatara Purushas.  They are born with a goal in mind  and there is a reason for their descent on  earth.  He resides on the earth verily for the reason. Avataras may be of different kinds. They are invariably Jeevan Muktas and they like to stay secluded in the Universe and hence they remain in distant hills and they like to be secluded as possible.

But then there is a comparative degree.  Your natural state is to remain in seclusion. When someone calls for help, provide help and then comes to seclusion again. That is verily the precept of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at a comparative degree. There are Aavatara Purushas, who come down to mingle with human clan whenever necessary and go back to seclusion. Those are second degree of Avatara Purushas. The superlative of the Avataras -’Avatahara Varishta’ – who come down on earth verily to mix and mingle with normal human beings and by being with them completely transform the humans and yet remain  un detatched. Here Swami Vivekananda compares Sri  Rama Krishna Paramahamsa  as ’Avatahra Varishta’. For them the true nature is nature of self-Supreme Brahman and yet they come and mingle with mortals on this earth.  One of the greatest Grantas, Sri Adi Sankara’s philospohy, Advaitha Siddantha, and based on this Siddantha that he had done, the Brahma sutra Bhasya, which is the Bhaysa for Geeta and Dasopanishad. He took all the ten Upanishads and gave commentaries on all these Upanishads. In order to make Advainta Philopsophies  easier to comprehend, he gave Prakaarana Granthas . The word, ‘Prakarana’ means ‘to explain’. One of the Prakarana Granthas is  Viveka Choodamani and in this he has expounded about the qualities of a Mahtama and Jeevan Mukta.

“digambarO vapI cha shAmbarO vA tvagambarO vapi chidambarasyahah

unmattavad vapi cha balavad va pIshachavad vapi charantyavanyam”

 

They are either clothed or unclothed. The cloth is cloth of wisdom and clothes is sense of direction and the cloth is  entire Akasha [space]. They act like a child and ghost.  We see this, in the description of Sage Suka – “DristvAnuyAntam rishImatmajam  apyanagnam

devyO hriya paridadurna sutasyachitram

tad vikshya  pruchati munau jagadus thavAsti

sthri pumbitha natu sutasya vivikta drishteh” . [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.5]

 

The moment Sage Suka was born as a sixteen year old boy, he immediately left his home. His father, Sage Veda Vyasa came out running for him, ‘Putrah putrA’.

yam pravrajantham anupetam apeta-krutyam

dvaipayAnO viraha-kAtara Ajuhava

putreti tan mayatayA taravo abhineduhu

tam sarva bhuta hrudayam munim Anato smi [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.2]

 

When he called “putra” the trees turned around and enquired the reason, verily  because he was one with everyone in this world – ‘tam sarva bhuta hrudayam munim’. He was a Digambara akin to how Adi Sankara portrays and his clothes encompassed the entire universe and his clothes were also the directions .  He was just walking around and there was a lake were maidens from Deva loka [Devastiris] were taking a bath.  The moment Sage Suka passed them by, they recognized the Avatara Purusha in him and  they wanted to prostrate unto him.  Sage Suka never stayed in a place for long. It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam – ‘sa gOdohana maatram hi gruhEshu gruha mae dI nAm” . He doesn’t stay in a place for more than the time a drop of milk takes to reach the vessel from the cow’s udder. Having known about Sage Suka, they immediately jumped out of the lake and prostrated unto Sage Suka even forgetting the fact that they didn’t have any clothing on their body.

Sage Suka is believed to be in a place just like ‘sa godohana matram hi ‘ the time the milk takes to reach from the cow’s udder to the vessel,. They did not want to miss the opportunity to prostrate unto a Mahatama. Behind them was Sage Vyasa who was clothed [Anagnam] and when he followed immediately the Devastris, recognized Vyasa and ran to cover themselves [thatdvikshya prichati].

He was pleasantly surprised and inquired the reason [chitram vikshya prichathi]  for not being shy [lajjA] when prostrating to Shuka and why they did feel shy when an old man like Vyasa was around . Back came the reply -’stri Pumbita  nata suthasya viviktha drishtehe’. The Deva stris told Vyasacharya that he distinguishes between people -’viviktha drishtehe’ and that distinction is not present in the heart of Sage Suka and that is verily why they perceived  him as a Jeevan Mukta. Such was the nature of Sage Suka and Mahatmas. Viveka Choodamani goes to speak about the nature of Mahtmas.

kvachith mudo vidwaan kvachitapi maha raaja vibhavaha

kvachith brantha sowmyaha kvachith ajakaraha chaarakalithaha |

kvachith paatri bootahah kvachith avamataha kvaapi avidithaha

charad evam pragnyaha satata paramanada sukitaha  || [Viveka Choodamani sloka 542]

 

It goes to speak about the quality of Mahtams and how they are on this earth. A Jeevan Mukta is sometime like a fool [muda], the most ignorant person on the earth. They act to be fools sometime, while sometime they act as Vidwaans [knowledgeable]  He is like a king and at times like a lunatic [branthaha].   He is like a extremely gentle [sowmya] and at other instances he is like a serpent [ajakra chaara kalithaha].Sometime he is the most respected person on earth [kvachith paatri] , sometime he is trampled upon and disrespected the most [kvaapi aviditaha charathi]. The sloka says-’charad evam pragnyaha satata paramanada sukitaha’  that  a Mahatma in various different states of mind still roam on the earth because he doesn’t care about it and is in deep state of divine bliss.  There is a similar sloka in Srimad Bhagavatam that speaks about Jeevan Muktas who roam on this earth like -’unmatha mooka jadavath’. It speaks about Sage Suka

‘katham aalakshita pouraihi samprapthaha kuru jankalan unmatha mooka jadavathu vicharanda sahahvaye’

Mahans are lunatic, dumb,inanimate and insentient beings [akin to stones].  We have examples [pramanas] in the Purana kala and it is verily Prahlada. In the historical past [charithra kala] we have had so many Mahatmas who have been in these states of mind [moodaha, viswan, branthaha, maharajaha] and in this present age we have had Mahatmas and our very own Guru Maharaj who are verily in this state revelling in the divine bliss . Such is the state of Mahatmas.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

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