Tag Archives: guru bhakti

Jul 10: Greatness of a Guru

10 Jul

The Nama Sankirtan was lead by Sankarji’s  family from Bay Area California.

Narayananji from Boston talked about the significance of satsang and the importance of Guru Krupa. We have learnt the fact from various discourses that human birth is indeed very rare. The main of human birth is to attain liberation. Our Guru Maharaj very beautifully says that realization is pure and pristine Krishna Bhakti. When one performs Krishna Bhakti for the sake of Bhakti which is devoid of any condition or cause then that is verily Mukti.

“Nija bhakthargalae jivan mukthargalae”

True devotees of the Lord are indeed Jivan Muktas. And true Krishna Bhakti is indeed Mukti.  We can see such a Krishna Bhakti in the life-history of Prahalada,  the Gopis of Brindavan. Our Guru Maharaj says that it is very difficult for the people in the age of Kali to develop that intense Krishna Bhakti.  So he preaches the steps that one should follow to develop that pure Bhakti for Lord Krishna which is untainted with any desires. How is Krishna Bhakti attained?   It happens only through Nama Sankirtan. So how does one develop conviction to Nama Sankirtan? It is verily through satsangs. We all know that it is very rare to get a satsang. One would need abundant Guru Krupa to be blessed with a satsang. When being part of satsang, he would get the flair of Nama Sanakirtan. By chanting the Divine Names of the Lord would instill Krishna Bhakti and when that Bhakti is untainted, it is verily Mukti.

Knowing the fact that Guru Krupa is causeless and has no time factor attached to it. It only comes by His sheer will and wish. It is due to the good merits accrued over so many births that one may be blessed with Guru Krupa. But we are all truly blessed to be in the abode of our Guru Maharaj.

Our Friday satsang is an endeavor to chant the Divine Names of the lord and to reminisce his glories.

Following this, Ramyaji from San Jose spoke on Guru Mahima thus,

Guroh anugraihivena puman purnaha prashantayae

Says Srimad Bhagavatham. A man attains the state of completeness only by the grace of his guru’s grace and blessings.

“Gurvilla viththai pazh” goes a saying in tamil.

“Sthothriyam brahma nishtam” says the Upanishadas. A guru is  the one who is very knowledgeable in all the Shastras and has well understood its essence and follows the path shown by the Shastras and it is he who has attained Brahmanubhuti.

The Upanishads preach the path of Sharanagathi to one such guru. So how do we  attain a Uttama Guru. We very well know that our efforts will be futile if we try to find a Guru ourselves. Instead of searching for a Guru, if we instead search for the Lord, we will get a Guru.

Well it is not very easy for everyone to attain a Guru just like that and it is to be said that the Lord also has certain guidelines to direct a soul to a Uttama Guru. A devotee of the highest order and for one the Lord thinks of showering his grace, for whom he decided to break the transmigration of births and deaths and having them attain Moksha, he doesn’t take those devotees to His holy Feet directly but only through a Guru. This is the Lord’s way.

If we perform the Bhakti from the bottom of our heart by abiding to the path shown by dharma, and if that unconditional Bhakti is directed towards the lord, then the Lord Himself will lead him to a Guru. We cannot find a Guru by our means. We cannot go and experiment gurus after gurus to see if he is indeed a Uttama Guru.  When one gets cheated even in worldly affairs, what to talk of spiritual life? We do a business with a dear friend of ours, but we develop some ill-feelings and we develop enmity and we stop doing business.  When one attains a Guru who is indeed not a true Guru, then what he loses is not just money or anything but he has wasted his entire birth.  When the Guru doesn’t possess Jnana, how can he impart Jnana to his disciples? Can a blind man show another blind man the way? When that Guru itself is not going to attain moksha, how can he show the path of moksha to his disciple?

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa very beautifully once said that a small snake once desired to eat a big frog. So the snake tries to swallow a little portion of the big frog, but, that snake is not capable enough to swallow the whole frog and so after some time, both of them die. Akin to this is that fact that if one attains a guru who is not a Jivan Mukta then not only the devotee will not reach the heavenly abode but also that Guru as well.

So who is a Uttama Guru? A sadguru is one who bestows you with Gnana and Bhakti and throws you unto the Holy Feet of the Lord without your knowledge.

If you go and ask a devotee as to what his Guru was doing when he went to see Him. He would say,
Srihari charana dyana paarayanam

He was meditating on the Holy Feet of Lord Sri Hari.

Sritha jana taapa trayasam haranam

The devotee would say “I had some worries in my mind and decided to talk to him about that to find some solace. But since he was meditating on Lord Hari,  and when I went and sat in front of him my mind was filled with peace”.

Aananda Bhaashpa poortitha netram

If you look at his eyes, you can experience the tears of joy in his eyes.
Since he is constantly meditating on the beautiful Lord, the Guru becomes

Adbudha roopam poolagangitha gathram

His body is so beautiful and experiences horripliation in ecstasy.
So what do we, as devotees of Sadguru do?  Meditate upon this uttama guru

Sri gurum eva sadaa bhavayae… hrudayae

At another instant of time, when you ask a devotee as to what he was doing he would say

Bhagavthamrutha rasikam sumukam
Bhava bhaya banchana charitham lalaitham

He expounds Srimad Bhagavatam with great vigor. We all know that by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam the disease called samsara will be cured.

And how was he explaining Srimad Bhagavatam?  The devotee says “Oh I don’t know whether it is hundredth time he is preaching Bhagavatam to his disciples.”. But every time he says, it looks like it is the first time he is discoursing on Srimad Bhagavatam and he is filled with joy and vigor when he expounds on it. He explains in a manner akin to how a teacher teaches a small child. He doesn’t show off his knowledge and only tells the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam .

After Bhagavatam what did your guru do? He would say

Srihari keerthana chaturam susvaram
Sripaduka kruta  nardanam sugunam

He was singing the glories of the Lordm dancing softly.
So who is fortunate to be blessed with such a Uttama Guru

“Pratipadam ha Krishna Krishneti gayantham”

It is only for that devotee who is immersed in the thought of Lord Krishna.

Prasanna mukham bhaktha hridi nivasantham

Once you have seen such a Sadguru, you don’t have to take efforts to meditate upon this Guru. His ‘Prasanna mukham’ [pleasing face] will bring His dyana into your heart.

What does he bless his devotees who come to have his darshan
Krishna Prema vitarana seelam

His very nature is to bestow the love for Krishna which he possess to his devotees. And

Kruthartha jana gana mangala moolam

If you are fortunate enough, then you will be blessed with such a Sadguru.

Thirumoolar in thirumandiram says the darshan of a sadguru will lead the mind into a peaceful state.

“Thelivu guruvin thirumeni kanthal
Thelivu guruvin thirunamam sepal
Thelivu guruvin thirvarthai kettal
Thelivu gurvarul chinthithal dhaane”

Guru’s darshan, meditating on the guru, abiding by the guru’s words and always thinking about the guru will purify you and bestow you with Jnana,

If we take the life-history Ramana Maharishi. Ramana once had a question about death and that question in turn gripped him with fear. Through self-inquiry, he attained the Supreme State and yet came to Thiruvannamlai.

He has composed several songs on Lord Arunachaleshwara. The most popular is the Aksharamanamalai [a series of 108 songs]. His Guru was none other than Lord Arunachala –

“kuttramuttraruthennai gunamaai panithaal guruvuruvaai olir arunaachalaa’


He enjoys calling that Arunachaleshwara as guru and not as Lord!

Akin to Ramana is Arungirnathar. He also did not have a Guru. He was also ordained by Lord Muruga. Of the numerous compositions on Lord Muruga, he says,

Santhatham bandham thodaralae….
Japamalai thantha sadgurunatha

Even though it was Lord Mwho gave him the Japamala, he calls Lord Muruga as the Sadgurunatha.

Uruvai Aruvaai Ulathaai Ilathaai
Maruvaai Malaraai Maniyaai Oliyaai
Karuvaai Uyiraai Gathiyaai Vithiyaai
Guruvaai Varuvaai Arulvaai Guhane


Just like how we all have a family doctor, family deity, it is very important to have a guru.

Sant kabirdas in one of his dohas very beautifully says that “If at all both the Lord and the Guru come and stand in front of him, he would first prostrate to his Guru and then to the Lord.” There is a beautiful reason as to why he says this. A mother takes every step to bring up the child right from the first day of her pregnancy till the child becomes independent. When the child grows up and becomes very learned and earns a very respectable position in the society, the father proudly tells everybody that it is his son.

Similarly a guru, takes everyone unto his feet and bestows them with Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya and eventually throws them unto the feet of the Lord even without their knowledge.

Koorathaazhwaar was a great devotee of Sri Ramanuja.  He hailed from a place called ‘Kooram’.  He used to feed a huge number of devotees everyday. His Guru Bhakti was unique.  He knew no other God other than Sri Ramanuja.

Once, Lord Sri Varadaraja (of Kanchi) told Kacchiappanambi, “Why don’t you fan us in the ‘sayana gruha’, where we are locked up every night?”  and Kachiappa Nambi instantly agreed.  One such night,  it was past midnight when the Divine couple heard a clinging noise.  The Mother asked the Lord, ‘What is the noise at such a late hour?’

The Lord explained, “Our devotee Koorathaazhwaar is closing the door of his home after offering food to all the pilgrims. It is verily the sound of his doors being closed.”

At once, Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) remarked, “Is there any dearth of Koorathaazhwar’s wealth?”

Kacchiappanambi who was listening to the divine conversation as he was fanning the Divine couple, couldn’t wait for dawn. He wanted to share this exciting news with Koorathazhwar an expected that the latter will jump in joy on learning that the Goddess of wealth had blessed him in this manner.

In the morning he rushed to Koorathaazhwaar’s home and with much joy said, “Last night the Lord and His Consort spoke about you.”

With excitement writ large on his face, Koorathaazhwaar asked, “What did they speak about me?”

When Kachiappa Nambi spoke about the Divine Mother’s remark about Koorathaazhwar’s wealth, a shadow of sorrow covered Koorathaazhwaar’s face.

He lamented, “Oh, Did they speak only this about me? Did not allude to me as a speck of dust at Sri Ramanuja’s feet?  Did they speak only about my wealth? And, you have come rushing to me to tell this?” He was extremely dejected. He at once walked out of his ouse renouncing everything. Such was Koorathaazhwar’s Guru Bhakti!

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

Dec 5: Glory of Pandharpur

5 Dec

It was yet another blissful Friday satsang, which everyone truly enjoyed. About 11 satsang families dialed in. The Boston namadwar team lead the nama kirtan. After a quick round of introductions, Narayananji from Boston, gave a satsang talk about the Stala Purana of Pandarpur on account of Kaisika Ekadasi. He started off with the dyana slokas – “


Namo Nama SadGuruByo SadGuruByo Namo Nama |

Kalaye sundarAkAram sadaika priyadarshanam |
AgnAna nAshakam dEvam sadgurum muraLidharam ||

MuraLi mandita karakamalam munijana mOhanam
Vyatyasta pAdam vanamAlA dhAriNam |
PrEma bhakta maNdala nitya kIrthitam
PrEmika varadam AsRayeham ||

NAma sankIrtanam yasya sarva pApa praNAshanam |
PraNAmo dukha shamana: tam namAmi harim param ||

SadgurunAtha maharaja ki! jai! “

The most unique aspect of Sanatana Dharma is that there are many deities and lots of ways of worship. Even though the final destination is the same – The ultimate Brahman, the paths to attain the destination is different.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says ‘Yatho math tatho path’ (as many beliefs, so many ways).

Every deity is associated with an unique way of worship. Lord Ganesha, the child like god, when prostrated with Modaks and different kinds of foods, is extremely pleased. Lord Karthikeya is very happy when one undertakes fasting(Vratha) to worship him. Lord Shiva is called Abhisheka Priya. He is in joyous mood when he is bathed with water all the time. In northern part of India, it is a common sight in the temples to see water dripping on the Shivalinga all the time.

Akin to these deities, there are different ways of worship for Lord Vishnu deities as well.
Lord Vishnu (Aalankara Priya), loves to be dressed very well. Our Guru Maharaj often says that Lord Guruvayyorappan is best worshipped with Srimad Bhagavatam. He, being the idol of Uddava, likes to hear Bhagavata parayam always. Lord Venkatachalapthi in Tirupathi is revered with wealth. Likewise, Lord Suryanarayana in Trichur is happy to hear the sound of fireworks. It is also known as “Vetu Vazhi Padu” in tamil. Lord Badrinarayana in badrinath is “Nara Barayana” and he is worshipped with pure tapas. Lord Jagannathar in Puri, is offered with different kinds of Prasad during the day. There is continuous cooking of food round the clock and Puri Prasad is considered to be “Brahman” itself. Srinathji in Dwaraka is offered only the richest of the richest and the best of the best.

Just like how these gods are worshipped in their own way, Lord Panduranga of Pandarpur loves Nama Sankirtan. Lord Krishna, is usually perceived as “Vyatyasta Pada” – criss crossed legs with a flute(murali) in his hand. But in Pandarpur, the same Lord, who is the Dwarakadeesha, is depicted to be in “Sama Charana” – the lord standing on his still legs instead of criss cross legs. It is said that no sooner do the devotees of the lord start to tune their ‘tambura’ than the Lord is ready to jump and move around. So the Lord Vittala is usually portrayed with his feet on the ground and his arms around his hips.

There are a couple of things that makes a holy place (kshetra) very popular. Firstly, it is the historic story (stala purana) of that particular place and deity. Secondly, the devotees extol the glory of the place and sing beautiful songs on that deity.

Bhaktas from Pandarpur, have decorated the Lord Panduranga with beautiful Kirtans also known as Abhangs (Marati Kirtans). There are two things – Nama sankirtanam and Guru Bhakti that are very common to all these bhaktas of Pandarpur. The grace and glory of a guru is clearly outlined in all these Bhaktas life history. Their main advocacy was Nama Sankirtan, which is very transparent in their abhangs and their lives have been filled with Guru Bhakthi and Guru Mahima, be it the life of Namadev, Tukkaram, Jnaneshwar, or Ekanath.

In fact, the very ‘Sthala Purana’ of Pandharpur talks about Guru Krupa.
There was a devotee by name Pundalika who hailed from south. He intuitively listened to lot of discourses. One day when he was listening to a Katha, the lecturer (Pouranika), mentioned that a visit to Kasi (Varanasi) would accrue a lot of punya. The moment he heard this, he held a desire to visit Varanasi. He left for Varanasi along with his family. Since there was no transportation available then, the whole of the journey had to be covered by foot.

It is said that when someone is in the quest of God, a Guru comes right on the way and shows him the way. That was exactly the case with Pundalika. When he was crossing the Bheema river, he came across the ashram of a maharishi called Kookoda Maharishi. He rested there to refresh for a while. Pundalika expressed his desire to visit Varanasi to the Maharishi. The Maharishi advised him that his foremost responsibility was to take care of his parents and by doing so, he told him that all the deities will come right to his house.

A path that a guru shows is always in accordance to Vedas and Shastras. The shastras say “Matru Devo Bhava Pitru Devo Bhava” – All the deities are equivalent to the act of serving one’s parents. The guru showed him the way and Pundalika immediately accepted his guru’s words.

Pundalika took excellent care of his parents from dawn to dusk and diligently performed chores to his parents. He took very good care of his parents, not for any desire for punya, but for his guru’s words.

The Lord was so pleased with Pundalika and wanted to grace him. The lord who was none other than Dwarakadeesha, decided to played a prank. He asked Narada if he knew anyone who was very truthfully serving his parents. Narada immediately mentioned about Pundalika on the banks of Bheema river. So the Lord along with Rukmini Devi set out for Pundalika’s house. They knocked his door and Pundalika opened the door. He was very sincerely taking care of his parents’ morning tasks and asked the Lord to wait in a brick till he finished serving his parents.

The lord patiently waited as well. Once he finished his work, Pundalika came to the Lord and firstly thanked them for waiting very patiently. The Lord being so pleased with him told Pundalika that he wished to grant him a boon. Pundalika denying that boon, said that he was very happy that his guru’s words came true. But the lord insisted that he ask for a boon. He then asked him to stay in his house forever, to prove the very fact that the Lord himself came to his house to take care of a devotee who took care of his parents. So the Lord immediately granted him that boon and that is how our Lord Dwarakadeeshan settled in Pandarpur as Lord Panduranga along with Rukmini as Vittobha and Rakumai.

Adi Shankara has mentioned Panduranga as verily Parabrahma (‘Parabrahma lingam bhaje Pandurangam’)– a culmination of all the deities.

Our Guru Maharaj spoke this beautifully in a kirtan in Tamil, mentioning the Sthala purana of Pandarpur. and also clearly elucidating the characteristics (amsa) of different deities.

The kirtan is as mentioned below – “

Pallavi

Pundalikanuku Andru Vandu Ninran
Pandariyil Pandavadoothan

Charanam

Chandrabhaga Karayil
Chandra Samana Mukha Azhagan
IndiradiSevitha rajadhi rajan
(Pundalikanuku)

Bhaktivellathil Kulithu,
Keerthanai Aadai Aanindhu,
Sadhukalai Bhushanamai Kondu
Namamritam Undu
(Pundalikanuku)

Our Guru Maharaj expounded Lord Panduranga, who stood in front of Pundalika. He says that the lord’s face is like the moon on the banks of the river, Chandrabaga, which is itself named so because it is cresent-shaped.
Speaking about the qualities of the Lord, He says that He is the king of the Kings – who has subdued Lord Indra’s ego, as we see in Bhagavatam.

He then talks about the characteristics (amsa) of the different deities that the Lord Pandurangan possessed. He says that the lord takes bath in the ocean of bhakti/devotion, similar to Lord Shiva, the abhishekha priya. He compares him with Lord Vishnu (aalankara priyan), by saying that the abhangs and kirtans are his garments and his jewels are his Bhaktas. He keeps relishing food always, akin to Puri Jagannatha Swami. But the food here is the Nectarine Name of the Lord.

May that Panduranga bless all of us.

Sri Aravindji from Florida shared his joyful experiences of Srimad Bhagavata Sapthaham in Houston. The Satsang was wrapped up with Nama Sankirtan. We also prayed for the Mumbai victims who were killed during the terror attack.

Oct 24: Guru Bhakti

24 Oct

The Satsang on 24th October saw about 25 devotees on the telecon.  Nrithi, Priya and Lalithaji from Seattle led the first 10 minutes of Nama.  The Nama Kirtan was followed by a discourse by Sri Narayanaswamyji of Seattle.  In his discourse, he underlined the importance of a Gruu in everyone’s life.  He spoke about the glory of the Sadguru.

He said that when the Lord decides to shower compassion to the jivas, he takes the form of a Sadguru.  Krishna is verily the form of a sadguru – ‘Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum’.  Similarly, Lord Shiva, comes in the form of a Sadguru as Lord Dakshinamurthy.  Every other deity in our religion is worshipped as a Satguru.  Aruna Giri Nathar, a great poet and devotee of Lord Muruga requests Lord Muruga to come in the form of a Sadguru  – ‘guruvaai varuvaai arulvaai guhane’.

What does a Guru do? The grace of a Guru can transform even the dumbest of the brains into most knowledgeable one.  All of us know of the story of Sri Giri – Giri was the disciple of Sri Adi Sankara who did all the ‘kainkarya’ for his Guru.  Once a class was supposed to start and Adi Sankara, for some reason kept waiting.  When the other disciples questioned, Adi Sankara mentioned that he was waiting for Giri to come.  Hearing this, the other disciples chuckled, for they thought that Giri would not, anyway, not understand a bit of the lesson.  Witnessing this, a deluge of grace poured forth from the heart of Adi Shankara.    He felt pity for Giri, who was then washing his Guru’s saffron clothes in the riverbed.  This very grace, blessed Giri with abundant knowledge.  In a fit of ecstasy, Giri started chanting the ‘Thotakashtakam’ in praise of his Guru.  All of us know that this particular piece of poetry is one of the masterpieces of literary excellence.  Thus, by merely thinking of a disciple, a Guru can illuminate him with Supreme Knowledge.

Some might question – when the Lord is so personal, why should there be someone between the devotee and the Lord.  What is the need for a middleman, called Guru?  When the Jiva is not able to distinguish the difference between the ‘sat’ and the ‘asat’. The Truth and the untruth, dharma and adharma, divine and the non-divine, it is the Guru who shows the right way to the Jiva.

Is every other person in a saffron garb a Guru?  In tamil, a beautiful distinction exists, between a true Guru and a quack – ‘Pizhaikka Vandavan’ (the one who comes to earn his living) is a quack – who recommends different kinds of atonement, extorts money and feeds himself.  The true Guru is ‘Pizhaikka vaikka vandavan’ – The one who has come to rescue others! (From the pangs of Samsara).

A true Guru is selfless. He does not expect anything for himself, and at any cost follow swadharma.  Once the divine sage of Kanchi His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamiji (Sri Paramacharya) turned down the offering of a huge sum of money by some devotee, who donated it for the sake of the Mutt.  There are very few selfless true Gurus.

We are in fact blessed with a rare opportunity to be living as contemporaries to a number of such divine souls.  Being the eve of the Jayanti of Sri Sadguru Maharaj, let us pray to the Almighty to bless us with more and more satsang, Guru Bhakti and Bhagavat Bhakti.’

The Satsang also bade farewell to Sri Narayanaswamyji who was traveling back to India.

This was followed by Sri Narayan Daveji of Houston inviting the devotees for the Bhagavata Saptaham that is planned to be held at Houston between the 22nd and 28th of November, 2008.

Sri Sri Swamiji’s Jayanti celebrations were also announced.

The satsang ended with Mahamantra Kirtan and prayers for two devotees.