May 18: Greatness of Mahatmas – 3

18 May

The path of Bhagavata Dharma consists of Nama sankirtan and Katha Shravanam.  This beautiful path of Bhagavata Dharma is the lifeline for many Mahatmas. When Sri Swamiji expounds on the glory of Namasankirtan, he quotes different Mahatmas from different parts of the country from time immemorial all the way  till date who emphasized that chanting the divine names of the Lord is indeed the most practical and easy path. It is important to note that when Mahatmas have taken hold of this path not because of their personal choice but they being adept and skillful have gone through various different paths and amongst all the paths have found this path of Namasankirtan to be the simplest oath.  Sri Ramakrishna took up a Sadhana, gets to the end of it and then attempted a different sadhana and even when following different religions, he had experiences of himself practising various different religions and finally finding out that all of them have the same goal as Bhagawan and then after going through all the different paths, he finally advocated the path of Bhakti and Namasankirtan. That is the greatness of this path. Mahans have experienced all paths and sadhanas and then propounded the path  of Namasankirtan.

 

The greatness of this path is that  there are no rules and can be chanted by anyone and everyone. Once Bhagwan Yogiramsuratkumar was asked by a devotee on the cleanliness and purity requirements  for one  in order to chant the divine names of the lord. Sri Yogiji asked him to come and see him next day morning. When the devotee came the next morning, Sri Yogiji was in the bathroom attending his nature calls and was also chanting the divine names – ‘Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram’ from inside the bathroom. As soon as he came out of the bathroom, he looked at the devotee and asked him if he understood what purity one needs to chant the divine names. One does not need to have any purity of any sort to chant the divine names because as one chants the divine names it will eventually make the person pure and pristine. When this same question was put forth to Sri Swamiji, he beautifully replied that Ganga is a very powerful river. Does one take bath in another river before taking a dip in Ganga? No, Ganga is going to make one pure even though one may have all kinds of dirt and a dip in Ganga is enough for one to be absolved of all the dirts. Likewise Bhagawan Nama will take care of one irrespective of how clean or dirty the individual is. Someone asked Sri Swamiji on the best time during the day to chant the divine names and in reply he mentioned the time he/she doesn’t chant Nama is a bad time and that one can chant nama during any part of the day. There is no desha/kaala/niyama and hence it is indeed the very simplest and straightforward path advocated by all Mahatmas and given to us directly by Sri Swamiji. Such is the greatness of this beautiful path of Namasankirtan.

 

Sri Narayananji from Boston delivered the satsang lecture. A Mahatma in an abhang speaks about the greatness of Bhagawan and Sadhus. One can easily understand the greatness of Bhagawan verily because the Sadhus around the Universe keep singing his divine glories and greatness. The abhang also tells us that it is difficult to comprehend the greatness of Mahatmas because no one can understand their greatness. It is verily the lord who can understand the greatness of Sadhus and unfortunately the lord cannot speak to anyone and everyone. One has to truly experience to understand the greatness of Sadhus in the sanctum of a Mahatma.  A Mahatma in his divine presence bestows all goodness and eventually gives the greatest in one’s life and bestows Bhagawan and all these three happen in this order. There is no specific logic, cause and effect to describe Mahatma’s grace and the way he bestows one with these three benedictions. Mahans shower their grace verily because it is their nature. Our scriptures describe the communication between a Mahatma and a Jeeva (a Guru and his disciple) in three major ways. When one reads Aksharamanamalai, the divine work of Sri Ramana Maharishi one can clearly understand the three ways. He speaks about the three ways by which a disciple or a bhakta can be initiated by a Mahatma-’NokkiyE karudhimey TAkkiyE pakkuvam Aakki nI Andarul ArunAchalA’.  

A Mahatma can bestow his grace merely casting a glance on his disciple akin to a fish that lays eggs in a water moves away from these eggs but then fixes its vision on these eggs, makes sure that the eggs are safe and eventually hatch into fishlings. The  mother fish takes care that way, likewise a Mahatma can bestow his grace on his devotee by merely looking at them. Sri Swamiji rarely speaks about this rare scientific fact. When he speaks about enmity, he says enmity could arise in two ways. Firstly when someone is greedy about someone else and secondly when someone has negative feeling about someone else and enmity arises in both these cases. There is another way of enmity when there is no reason at all. When someone sees someone else, and develop the feeling of enmity for no reason at all and this kind of enmity can be seen between a snake and a mongoose. A snake and a toad are enemies because one is the food for the other, whereas a snake and a mongoose are no each other’s food but still they are enemies verily because enmity is their nature. They are enemies for no reason and they would each other until death and if the mongoose kills the snake, it would not eat it and instead run away. On the other hand, if the mongoose gets killed, the snake would just slither away. The enmity is just natural. Whenever a mongoose meets a snake, there is a quarrel that ensues. It is interesting that none of them give up. Mongoose comes in large numbers and if the fight goes on for a long time, then there is this mongoose family that brings a king mongoose, who does not come alone but with a fleet of  mongooses and all the other little ones carry the king mongoose on their shoulders who comes to confront the snake .The king mongoose does not fight physically he snake but simply stares at the snake. The moment the king mongoose casts such a glance at the eyes of the snake, the snake falls and dies at that very moment and the king mongoose walks away. The power that the king mongoose possessed in its eyes was present in entire mongoose clan, but their vision couldn’t do anything to the snake unlike their king. That is the case with Mahans as well, who are born as human beings -’harim meena ivodupam’ where Uddhava expounds about Lord Krishna in the third canto of Srimad Bhagavatam [3.2.8]. The lord was born as a human-being which the Yadu clan failed to comprehend that he was indeed the lord akin to the fishes who were under the false presumption that the ship was yet another big fish because of their inability to get full sight of the ship. There is a marked difference between ship and fish. If we take the fish from the water, the fish is bound to die. The very purport of the ship is to bring the people ashore. Mahatmas come in the garb of human-beings but the difference is in their vision. Their vision can usher in greatest good on anyone and everyone on whom they cast a mere glance.

It is a general trend that in the satsang families, one of the member would be an ardent devotee of Sri Swamiji, whereas the other members would not be as interested as this member of the house and so they would always keep away from the divine association of Sri Swamiji. They would completely loathe coming to satsangs and always spoke ill of those coming to satsang. But Sri Swamiji would always treat all the members of that family in the same manner and would make sure the entire family is taken care even though there is only one person who comes to the satsang.  He visits the house of the devotee with no paraphernalia and would come knocking the doors very unassumingly. The person who is very devoted to satsangs would be excited but the other members of the family would either be present at home or disappear from the divine presence of Sri Swamiji once they see him coming inside the home. Sri Swamiji would instead wait patiently till the other members of the family show up. He would either chant the divine names or read Bhagavatam and once the other member of the house returns, he would lovingly cast his glance on them and would take leave from them. This glance (nOkiyE) is enough to transform rest  of them and and vivid changes can be seen in them. They would soon start coming to satsangs and even chant the divine names of the lord and then everything follows suit. The glance (nOkiyE) is all powerful.

The next way Mahatmas bestow their grace on their devotee is ‘karudhiyE’. Devotees  who are not in the physical presence of the Mahatma get liberated by being  in the mental presence of the Mahatma.  (karudhiyE). A devotee is blessed with all goodness in his life when a Mahatma just thinks about his devotee, akin to a tortoise who lays eggs and moves away. A tortoise stays partly in water and land and lays its eggs and moves away. It doesn’t know where the eggs are and by merely thinking of the eggs, the mother tortoise hatches it and makes sure it is safe. That is verily the power of thinking and Mahatmas thoughts are all powerful who bestow their grace by merely thinking. When a devotee prays very sincerely to Sri Swamiji, he gets the thought of that devotee. Raviji Somasekarji from Australia , is one of Sri Swamiji’s long time devotee had that beautiful experience. It was those days when there was no quick emails and not even international trunk calls. He was undergoing some business related problems and thought of Sri Swamiji and wrote a letter to him. He sincerely prayed to Sri Swamiji’s picture and Sri Swamiji thought about Raviji and that very moment he got a solution to his problem. A Mahatma by merely thinking about a devotee  can bestow goodness on the devotee. This has been an experience in many of Sri Swamiji’s other devotees as well. There was a devotee in US who was having visa problems and was praying to Sri Swamiji.  He had a thought of that devotee back in India at the same instant of time when the devotee in US offered the prayers to Sri Swamiji  and the visa problems got solved instantly. A Mahatmas mere thought on a devotee not only bestows worldly goodness but all the way until mukti. When we say Smarana devotee,it is not the devotee thinking about Bhagawan but Bhagawan thinking about the devotee and thereby inculcating bhakti in him. Puranadara Keshavulu  was a young boy in a small town in Andhra Pradesh and did not know to read or write. When Mahaperiva was camping in Andhra Pradesh, he used to pluck Bilva leaves for pooja and offer it to Mahaperiva. When Mahaperiva was camping for a long time in a village in Andhra Pradesh, he wanted Bilva leaves for pooja everyday and Purandarakeshavulu came to know about it and he offered the Bilva leaves in a bamboo basket for pooja. He would leave the basket loaded with Bilva leaves at a particular spot and go away because he was too scared to reveal his identity. Mahaperiva was so surprised to see Bilva leaves in the midst of such remote village and was curious to find out who person was. He finally caught hold of Purandarakeshavulu and asked him what he wanted. This young boy was smart and told Mahaperiva that he will let him towards the end of his stay here in Andhra Pradesh. After some time, as Mahaperiva’s stay in Andhra Pradesh was coming to an end, Purandara Keshavulu told Mahaperiva that he learnt the greatness of Mahatmas from his father and that he would not ask anything relating to the mundane world and asked him to bestow with Moksha. He didn’t want to fritter away any boons pertaining to mundane world and requested Mahaepriva to grant him Moksha. Mahaperiva was stunned by the request of this young rustic chap, smiled at him and went away after immensely  blessing him.Many many years later, when Mahaperiva was in Kanchipuram he went and took several dips in Sarvatheertha suddenly on one fine afternoon. He went and took specified number of dips and when devotees around him enquired the reason, Mahaperiva mentioned that at that point in time, the boy whom he met during his stay in Andhra Pradesh was leaving his body and that he had asked Mahaperiva to bestow him with Moksha. He was destined to be born many times and that he was taking that many dips so that he is relieved from all his births [janmas] and attains Mukti. That is the greatness of Smarana. Mahatmas grant their grace by merely thinking about the devotee.

The third form of initiation is indeed the rarest of the rarest-’meI thaKiyE’. When Mahatmas touch the devotee and have a physical contact with the devotee, they transfer their energy to their devotee and they in turn develop the bliss. This is akin to the hen that hatches its egg into a beautiful chicken by merely sitting on it by the power of touch. We see this in various different life-histories of Mahatmas. Whenever Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was in a conversation with Vivekananda, he would always touch Vivekananda. The moment Ramakrishna touched the little Narendranath, a shiver was going through his body and would ask Ramakrishna as to what was happening in him. That is verily the transformation a Mahatma can bestow on his devotee by a mere touch. Once a great Mahatma by name Kavya Ganta Ganapathy Muni who was a great Pandit and a scholar, approached Ramana Maharishi. He had not had the experience of true Jnana and supreme bliss. When he had the darshan of Ramana Maharishi, he asked him if he could be bestowed with the experience of supreme bliss and all Ramana Maharishi did was he just touched him and that very instant he experienced the supreme bliss that he couldn’t bear  any longer. He requested Ramana Maharishi to take it away from him and finally he had to take away the supreme bliss away from him. Such is the greatness of Mahatmas touch. It is not just physical touch but anything that they touch be it a prasad contains the divinity that they have passed on by the mere touch. There has been innumerable instances where many couples have been bestowed with children after they partook the divine prasad that Sri Swamiji had blessed by verily touching it.

In a particular city  when Sri Swamiji once visited, there was a couple who had two little children with them and they prostrated unto Sri Swamiji. Guru Maharaj was very surprised on seeing them and enquired about them. Immediately the couple replied that the two children were twins who were born out of Sri Swamiji’s divine grace. Sri Swamiji was a little surprised. Many children were born by the prasad given by Sri Swamiji, but here they were twins and so he looked at the couple who replied that when Sri Swamiji had come to the city few years back, they had his divine darshan. During that time the couple told Sri Swamiji that they also revealed that they were childless and immediately Sri Swamiji gave a fruit from the basket, in fact it was two bananas sticking together. The couple told Sri Swamiji that they partook the two bananas and that they are now blessed with twins. That is the greatness of Mahatmas divine prasad. Anything that is touched by a Mahatma is verily ‘mei thAkiyE’. A physical contact is established between a Mahatma and the bhakta through a prasad and whatever that is being bestowed should be partaken only by that bhakta since it contains benedictions and blessing for that particular bhakta.

By a mere glance, thought and touch Mahatmas bestow their grace on a devotee. It is very rare to be in the physical presence of a Mahatma. It is even rarer to have a physical touch or a prasad from a Mahatma. It is very rare to be in the remembrance of a Mahatma and very rare to be in the line of sight of a Mahatma. The beauty is that all these being concepts of Vedanta called Salokya, Saarupya, Sameepya and Saayujya. Saalokya is being in the same plane [loka] as a Mahatma or Bhagawan, Sameepya is being in the same precinct (vicinity) as Mahatma or Bhagawan. Saarupya is having the same form, attitude and actions of a Mahatma. Saayujya is getting elevated to that state being one with the supreme truth who is verily the Mahatma or Bhagawan. All these four states which are translated into these three ways of communication [nookiyE, karudhiyE and mei thAkiyE] are verily possible by Bhagawan Nama sankirtan. That is verily why Mahatmas bestow Nama on the devotees so that by continuously chanting the divine names of the Lord one will be blessed to be  in the divine thoughts of a Mahatma, will then be in his divine line of sight, be recipients of his divine prasad and finally being elevated to that supreme state being one with the Mahatma.

The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.

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