Tag Archives: krishna

Aug 12: The Gopis’ Love

12 Aug

It is ‘varalakshmi vrata’ today  – a celebration of the Divine Mother.  Why should one celebrate festivals, make savories, wear new clothes?   It is a time to enjoy and live life as a festival – forgetting sorrows of our lives, and we do it by remembering the Lord.  Thus, the thoughts are always with the Lord.  When we prepare savories, sweetmeats, we perform it with the thought and intention that it is going to be offered to the Lord.  When that becomes the ‘bhava’ – that is, when the thought arises that something is done for the Lord’s sake, it becomes an enjoyment automatically.  This is exactly how Gopis lived their lives.

When Krishna recited the flute in the thick of the forest, immediately, the Gopis, leaving all their travails, run unto Him.  Krishna welcomes them and shows them the forest – ‘Oh dear Gopis! Look at these beautiful trees, creepers, flowers! Behold the Yamuna who flows gently in the influence of the wafting breeze drenched by the soothing grace of the full-moon! Behold the leaves that so beautifully garment the trees!’.  Imagine, the Lord of the world, Krishna, Himself, becoming a tour-guide showing the Gopis the beauty of Brindavan!  Indeed, only He can show it – for Brindavan is verily the Gopis’ hearts, and only with His grace can one see the beauty of the Lord in our hearts!    And, for lesser mortals who would go to Brindavan and seek good food and a good place of shelter, the guide shall also be mediocre likewise!

Then immediately, Krishna looks at the Gopis and says, ‘Oh Gopis! That was only the good half of Brindavan!  The forest also has in it evil – untamed wilderness – wild animals that could attack any time, and now, after dusk, they get virulent! ’ – attempting to induce a little fear in the hearts of the Gopis, coercing them to return to their homes.  But why would the Gopis leave?  ‘Foolish!’ the Gopis thought!  ‘When the indweller of the vilest of scorpions and wildest of animals  – Krishna was within and without, why would one fear?  Why does Krishna try to put us off?’

Then Krishna reveals His true intentions – ‘bartuh sushrushanam stInAm parodarmo hyamAyayA’ -  ‘Dear Gopis! You know what? The greatest duty of a house holder is to take care of her consort, all his relatives and the children.  So you derelict in your duty by forsaking them and coming here on hearing my flute.  Go back, right away!’

Krishna observes the response of the Gopis – who stand there, with heads hung down in shyness – and yet determined to stay; after all, why would they leave, even if Krishna would ask them to?  Krishna then continued –

He thought that the ladies were ignoring Him because Krishna’s complaint was baseless and hence started His sermon from the Shastras!  He quoted the ‘stree dharma’ start with –

‘dushIlo durbhago vruddho jado rogyatanopi vA|
patistrIbhih nahAtavyah lokepsubhirapAtaki ||’

‘Dear Gopis! It is incorrect to come here leaving your respective consorts!  Not me, but the Shastras say so!  You should serve your husband, no matter how vicious he is; no matter how bad he is.  He may be the most unfortunate soul on earth; still it does not behoove of you to forsake him.  You may be young and pretty and he may be have a receded hairline, may be sporting dentures, and may be using a cane to support his gait; he may be the dumbest, the laziest and the most insentient being on earth; he may be as sick as a dog or as poor as a church mouse; yet she should be in servitude to him.

This truly hurt the Gopis, and yet they wouldn’t  beat a retreat.  Why would they? After all, they have come there to enjoy the beauty of the ‘bhuvanasundara’!  Now they are indeed enjoying the way He gives sermons as knew they wouldn’t be part of the Bhagavat Gita Sermon in the battlefield to come!  The words of Bhagavan indeed pricked the tender hearts of the Gopis – and they burst out in a cry – and as the wail was for Krishna – it came out as a sweet song of love – ‘Pranaya Geetam’!

‘maivam vibhoryatibhavAn  gatitum nrusamsham santyajya sarva vishayAn tava pAdamUlam |
bhaktAbhajasva duravagraha mAtyajAsmAn devo yatAdipurusho bhajate mumukshUn ||’

“Dear Krishna, these ruddy tender lips that can kiss a dried bamboo churns out the most wonderful and mellifluous music, these ruby-red lips that can are the sweetest one can ever imagine on the Earth (as says Vallabhacharya – ‘adharam madhuram’), these rosy lips that give out the most soothing words one can ever think of, those sweet lips that can give out the wisest of thoughts – that baffle the most erudite scholars (‘bhuda manogyayaa’)  – can they be misused? Can they be used to utter such ‘harsh’ words that are least entitled to come out of them?”

Krishna here wonders if he had spoken anything wrong or uttered any ‘forbidden’ word! After all, he welcomed the Gopis and given them a tour.  And this was certainly not forbidden!  Then Krishna spoke about how dangerous the forests could be.  Were these forbidden words? Cannot be!  He spoke of Stree Dharma which was not forbidden either. But Krishna uttered ‘prati yAta tato gruhAn’ – ‘go back home!’   And those words were ‘forbidden words’ that have stung the hearts of the Gopis like a million scorpions would.

‘We have forsaken the entire world for the sake of your tender Feet – which is the end of every sadhana.  We have read your Bhagavat Gita, where you have sworn to Arjuna, ‘no me bhaktah pranashyati’ – my devotee will never be left forsaken!  Aren’t we your devotees?  Now, how come you are so hard-hearted to kick us out?  Anyone who aspires to attain your loka – leaves everything worldly and just catch hold of your feet – and we have followed that very example.  How can you send us back?’

Tears welling in their eyes, the Gopis hang their heads down to take a clearer picture of the Lord’s lotus feet, when reminisce its greatness and pour out another verse –

‘yarhyambujAksha tava pAdatalam ramAyA dattakshaNam kvachidaraNyajanapriyasya |
asprAkshma tatprabruti nAnya samaksham anjah stAthumstvayAbhiramitA bata pArayAmah ||

srIryat padAmbuja rajaschakame tulasyA labdhvApi vakshasi padam kila bhrutyajushtam |
yasyAh svavIkshaNa utAnya sura prayAsastatvad vayam cha tava pAdarajah prapannAh ||’

‘Looking at your feet, we are immediately reminded of our Divine Mother – Mahalakshmi –  who caresses your feet and cannot live without you.’

Tirumangai  Azhwar refers to the Lord at Therezhundur as ‘Tiruvukkum tiruvAgiya selvaa’  – Mahalakshmi being the auspiciousness for the Lord even.  And She becomes an inevitable part of Him.

One night, when there was heavy rain outside, the first Azhwar – Poigai Azhwar entered the holy place of Mrukandu Ashram in Tirukkovilur. The place was so small, that one could comfortably sit, two persons could shrink themselves and sit and three could only stand.  Then the second Azhwar – Bhoodataazhwaar comes – and they both have enough place only to sit when the third Azhwar – Peyaazhwar comes – and they are constrained for space.  Being pitch dark, Poigai Azhwar lights a lamp with the entire world being the lamp, the rivers and seas being the oil and the all the trees and plants as the wick.    Bhoodataazhwar lights a lamp with love as the lamp, the excitement and enthusiasm as the oil – and that luminescence reveals the fourth (the first / Primal) person there – the Lord to Peyaazhwaar.

He sings ‘tirukkanden ponmeni kanden…’ – even before he sees and enjoys the form the Lord, he sees ‘Thiru’ – Mahalakshmi –  the Divine Mother – who is inseparable from the Lord.

The moment the Thaayar’s darshan is had, the Lord becomes happy.

Adi Sankara speaks about how the Divine Mother ever resides in the bosom of the Lord.

‘angam hareh pulaka bhUshaNam Ashrayanti brunghAnganeva vakuLAbharaNam tamAlam
angIkrutAyavibhUtirapAngalIla mAngalyatAstu mama mangaLa devatAyA’

The Lord of the Universe quit Vaikunta and settled in Tirupati and the Divine Mother chose, not a separate temple for her, but resides right in His bosom not bearing an instant of separation (‘agalugindren iraippozhudhum’) – as the Lord would move away from Her any time, when a devotee may call.  The Lord remains sans emotions. Just like the golden yellow hued honey bee sits on the dark blue Tamala flower and makes the flower shake up, the Divine Mother who is golden hued (‘hiraNya varnAm hariNIm suvarNa rajatasrajAm’) sits on the bosom of the dark hued Lord.  She doesn’t remain silent there.  She does her ‘Lila’ – the Lord covers his eys with a huge Pundram  – because he doesn’t want to see the ‘sevaarthis’ – for we are full of vices and the Lord would see us as a bundle of vices when we go and fall at his feet!   But the compassionate mother sitting at His ‘vakshastala’, bends her head to see which fortunate soul falls at the Feet of the Lord, and recognizing this ‘benevolent’ child of hers who has forsaken all his busy schedules to come and have His darshan, immediately turns her head above to see if the Lord’s graceful glance fell on him, and if not, pleads for His grace for the ‘prapatti’ that the soul had done.
She does this not once, twice; but for millions of devotees that come – and every time the Divine Mother does this movement, it causes horripilation in the Lord.  ‘May she bestow us auspiciousness’ – says Sankara.

But interestingly, even though, the Divine Mother lived in His heart ever, she did not get proper ‘attention’ from Him.  The Lord gave all His love and attention to Tulasi Devi – even if it were a dry leaf or stem!  Mahalakshmi Devi carefully watches Tulasi Devi.   Tulasi Devi comes from the Tulasi Vana, gets herself plucked and torn, and then humbly offers herself to the Feet of the Lord. And the Lord looks at her with utmost compassion, takes her, gets her strung into a garland and wears it on His neck thereby placing her on His chest!  The Mother then decided to catch hold of the Lord’s feet – for that is a far better place to be in – rather than His bosom – (‘labdvApi vakshasi padam kila bruthya jushtam… tava pAda rajah prapannAh’)!

And the Divine Mother was so much enticed to the beautiful thighs and the Feet of the Lord, that she never left His Feet, as Narayana Bhattatri says in Narayaneeyam –

‘Uru chAru tavoru ghanamasruna rujau chittachorau ramAyAm….’

Those strong thighs that rested the mightiest of Asuras – Hiranyakashipu – were very enticing too.  His knees were like the cornucopia that could bestow everything that one longs for (‘samasthArtha pALi’).

That Lakshmi – who everyone goes after – catches hold of the Lord’s Feet.

‘Following cues from the Divine Mother, we too, Krishna, hold on tightly to your Holy Feet’ – the Gopis sing, ‘not aspiring to become like Mahalakshmi, but to become your servants!’

‘taptAtmanAm purusha bhUshaNa dehi dAsyam’ they sing.

‘Krishna! We may not be beautiful enough to match your beauty; we may not be elegant enough to match your Raasa dance; we may not be smart enough to understand your words; we may not be intelligent enough to enjoy your music and sermons; we may not even be fit enough connoisseurs to enjoy your Lilas, enjoy your beauty; but Oh Krishna!  We do love you and want to be at your service all the time.  Please provide us a service that we can do – shower us your grace by employing us in your service” cry Gopis.

That was the love of the Gopis – they did everything for Krishna’s sake – every breath of theirs was for Krishna.

 

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

Nov 20: The Story of Syamantaka Gem

20 Nov

Gayathriji from Boston beautifully discoursed on the Syamantaka-gem story.

We all know that Lord Krishna married Rukmini. She wrote a letter to the Lord expressing her deep love for the Lord. In the same letter she says, “Oh Lord! I have heard all about your wonderful character. For such a person with all the splendid character, which woman will not be attracted to you?”

So this very line shows that Lord Krishna got married to other Mahishis, Jambhavati, Sathyabhama, Sathya and Kalindi.

Lord Krishna was ruling Dwaraka along with Rukmini. The Yadava clan did not realize that Lord Krishna was indeed Bhagavaan. It is said that “Harim meena ivodupam”. Just like a fish swimming in water, when looking at a big boat/ship in water and unable to get full sight of the ship, thinks that the ship is yet another big fish compared to itself. 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. The Lord having married to Rukmini is now leading the life of a house-holder [samsari] in order to bring all the house-holders out of the ocean of samsara.

The Yadavas presumed that Lord Krishna is yet another Yadava but is indeed a smarter one and hence he is a minister and a king! They never looked him as the very Lord. One fine morning they came running to the Lord and started to hail, “Oh Narayanana, Oh Damodara  “. The Lord was taken aback. He was wondering the reason for the yadavas to call him by those names. No sooner did he wonder than he realized that the yadavas replied that “Oh Lord Krishna! The Surya Bhagawan himself is coming to see you”. The Lord immediately thought that the moment the yadavas realize that the person who was approaching was not Surya Bhagawan, they would stop calling him as the Lord. He looked at the person arriving and it was one of the Yadavas by name Satrajit. He was wearing a very luminous dollar in a chain that made everybody think that he was none other than the sun god himself. As soon as Satrajit took his seat, all the Yadavas stopped looking at the Lord and were starring at Satrajit and his shining dollar with gape. Lord Krishna then asked Satrajit about the luminous dollar. He mentioned that it was bestowed  to him by the Sun God as he was pleased with the penance he performed on him. He further added that it was called Syamantaka-gem  and that he was wearing it as a pendant. So Lord Sri Krishna asked Satrajit on the significance of the Syamantaka gem. Satrajit replied that it will bestow one with longevity and prosperity and peace will prevail ever lastingly and it will also yield two and half kilos of gold every day. So Lord Sri Krishna asked Satrajit if he can have the Syamantaka gem.  The Lord told him that he can very well keep the fortunes [gold] at his place but only give the Syamantaka Gem to him so that he can guard the precious stone very well. Satrajit politely refused and said that since it was Sun god’s gift and that he preferred to guard it.

Days passed by. One day it was Satrajit’s brother Prasenan’s birthday. So he requested Satrajit if he could have the Syamantaka Gem for just that day. Satrajit couldn’t refuse since it was his brother and with half heart he gave the precious stone to his sibling, Prasenan. He very happily took the stone and went around the town wearing the Syamantaka gem. The Yadavas slowly started to feel that they did not gain anything by being devoted to Lord Krishna and thought that they should have been devout to Surya Bhagawan. Prasenan then left to the forest for hunting but he never returned back.  Unfortunately he was hunted by a lion and was killed. Days passed by and people started to talk ill about Lord Krishna. News started to spread throughout Dwaraka that Lord Krishna had killed Prasenan since Satrajit had denied the Semantaka Gem to Lord Krishna earlier. Instead of calling the Lord as Navaneeta Chora, they started to call him as “Semantaka Gem chora”. The Lord was obviously not very happy to hear his new name and decided to set things right and left to the forest to find out what had happened. He found out that Prasenan was killed by a lion since his body contained lion’s claw’s marks and he followed the lion’s footsteps and he reached the mouth of a cave where he found out that the lion was killed by a bear. With much effort, he reached a cave and that cave led to a kingdom and a palace. Upon reaching the kingdom, he spotted a child playing with the Semantaka Gem and he was escorted by a lady care-taker. When she heard the Lord’s anklets sound and she cried “Oh Father”. The bear king, Jambhavan immediately came out and asked the Lord for his presence in the kingdom. And Yes, it is the same Jambavan from Ramayana. The Lord replied that the Semantaka Gem belonged to him and that he had come to take possession of it. The bear king immediately replied that it belonged to him since he killed the lion to take possession of the semantaka gem. Anything that a warrior [kshtriya] wins over another by waging a war belongs to the winner. So Jambavan replied that he cannot give it to Lord Krishna. So the Lord replied that if war is the criteria for Syamantaka, he told Jambavan that they can wage a war between the two. The winner of the war will have the Syamantaka-gem . Jambavan was very excited to hear this. He happily agreed for the war. Initially they started uprooting the trees and started throwing them at each other. They then uprooted the mountains, hills and huge stones and started pelting each other. It was indeed a tumultuous battle. They then started to wrestle, pummel and scratch each other. It is said that the Mahabharata war endured for eighteen days.

The confrontation between the Lord and Jambhavan persisted for eighteen days and nights without any break. Jambhavan did not completely enquire about his opponent, Lord Krishna, before the war. Why did Lord Krishna spare Jambavan for eighteen nights, when he could have killed him in a second akin to Kamsa?  It is because whenever Jambhavan delivered a blow on Lord Krishna he said, – “Vibha Ragupathe Jaya Jaya”.  Since he chanted the divine names of the Lord, which is verily calling Lord Krishna himself, he no choice but to accept his blows. So the battle prolonged for eighteen nights. Finally Jambahavan was tired and whispered to himself, “Who else in this world, other than Lord Rama himself has the ability to fight against me?”  That very moment Lord Sri Krishna disappeared and Lord Rama appeared in front of Jambhavan. The Lord said to Jambavan that in Ramayana, he was not given a fair chance in the battle field and that Hanuman and Sugreeva themselves took care of most of the things. The Lord further added , “Oh jambavan there was no strong men in the opponent team with such valor to fight against you excepting me “. You were hesitant to fight against me and hence to fulfill your desire to fight a war against me, I descended on the earth as Lord Krishna. Upon hearing this, Jambavan was very happy and immediately prostrated unto the holy feet of the Lord. He offered his daughter, Jambavati and the Syamantaka-gem  gem  as a gift to Lord Krishna.  Lord Krishna married Jambavathi and returned to Dwaraka along with Jambavathi and Syamantaka-gem .

Meanwhile in Dwaraka, since Lord Krishna was not to be seen in the town for eighteen days, the yadavas who had earlier bad mouthed Lord Krishna started to talk ill about Satrajit. They blamed him for Lord Krishna’s disappearance. Rukmini was also worried about Lord Krishna’s disappearance for eighteen days. At that very moment, Lord Krishna appeared victorious and returned with Syamantaka-gem  and Jambavathi.  Rukmini was very happy and she offered a very warm welcome to Jambavathi. Lord Krishna then assembled his court and summoned Satrajit. He then told Satrajit that the Syamantaka-gem  indeed belonged to him for two reasons. Firstly he won the combat against the bear king and that he got the gem as a gift from the bear king, Jambavan.  Having said that, the Lord was however willing to give it to Satrajit and gave it to him. The Lord thus got rid of the blame that he stole the Syamantaka-gem .

Now, the Yadavas started to talk ill about Satrajit. They accused Satrajit for falsely accusing Lord Krishna that he stole the Syamantaka-gem . He felt very depressed upon hearing and went to his to plot a plan to wipe off his bad name. His wife devised a beautiful plan. She said, “Why not we get related to Lord Krishna?” Let’s make Lord Sri Krishna as our bridegroom. Satrajit welcomed this idea and got his daughter Sathyabama married to Lord Sri Krishna. He also gave the Syamantaka Gem as a gift to Lord Krishna for their wedding. However, the Lord did not accept it. If Satrajit had given the gem earlier with whole heart he would have gladly accepted. We all know the great quality of our Lord. If we offer anything to the Lord with whole heart he would only snatch it from us. This great quality of the Lord was seen in Kuchela’s story, where he snatched the beaten rice from Kuchela.

Days passed by and one day Lord Krishna and his sibling, Lord Balarama went to Indrapastha to enquire on the Pandavas.  Meanwhile everyone including Akrura Bhagavatar  in Dwaraka was jealous about Satrajit and wanted to take possession of the Syamantaka gem. So one day when Lord Krishna was in Indraprasta, Akrura summoned Sathadanva who was related to Satyabama. He said  “Oh Satadanva! Are you shameless? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? “ . Satrajit had earlier agreed to get his daughter Satyabama married to you.  He did not keep up his words and she is now married to Lord Krishna. This is all for the Semantakagem. So he advised Satadanva to steal the gem from Satrajit’s place. Satadanva agreed to this malicious prepense. Making use of Lord Krishna’s absence, he went and slaughtered Satrajit and took the gem with him.

Satyabama was shocked to hear the news about her father’s death and went to Indrapastha to inform Lord Krishna. The Lord upon hearing the news broke down, lamenting the death of his father-in-law and consoled Satyabama. Even though the Lord is omniscient, since he is leading a house-holder life, he had lament for Satrajit’s death. Lord Krishna and Balarama returned to Dwaraka and started their search for the Semantaka. Satadanva became nervous and tensed upon the arrival of Lord Krishna in Dwaraka. He was scared that he would be slaughtered by Lord Krishna and ran to Akrura Bhagavathar to seek advice. It was indeed Akrura who had earlier advised him to steal the Syamantaka gem. Now when Satadanva went to him for advice, he asked him as to why he killed Satrajit to steal the Syamantaka. He handed the Syamantaka Gem to Akruar. Satadanva thought Lord Krishna would spare his life if he came to know that he did not possess the Syamantaka gem. When Akrura took possession of the Syamantaka, he left Dwaraka. Akrura who had ruled over the Brindavan, seeking the darshan of Lord Krishna now went to Kasi.

Lord Krishna and Balarama came to know that Satadanva had the Syamantaka Gem and started to chase him. Finally at the border of Koshala, Lord Krishna slaughtered him. Lord Krishna killed him not because he stole the Syamantaka but for killing Satrajit. They found out that he did not have the sementakgem. Balarama told Lord Krishna that he would have a sojourn at Koshala since the king of Koshala was Balarama’s pal. He also instructed Lord Krishna to look out for the Syamantaka-gem . Days passed by and Balarama returned to Dwaraka. Revathy, Balarama’s wife told her husband that Lord Krishna was not able to locate the Syamantaka-gem . Balarama swiftly replied back to Revathy that Lord Krishna does have the semantaka gem and that he is very sure about this. Revathy added that she is also of the same opinion as she noticed Rukmini securing something in her safety vault. So this kind of suspicious talk started to sprang up in Lord Krishna and Balarama’s homes. The Syamantaka gem brought misunderstanding in  the Lord’s family itself.

Meanwhile the whole town started to talk about Akrura since he was missing for a while from Dwaraka. Akrura’s father was once invited to Kasi to perform spiritual austerities since the city was devoid of rain for a while. People started to talk that Akrura must have also been invited to Kasi at present, since Kasi is now receiving heavy downpours since he must have been performing some austerities.

Lord Krishna pondered over the missing Akruar. He thought that if he had left Dwaraka by missing the Lord’s darshan, then there is something more important than the Lord’s darshan itself. So he decided to go and meet Akrura in Kasi. When he met Akrura, he was indeed performing a sacrifice with utensils all made of gold. What else would Akrura do with two and half kilograms of gold from Syamantaka on a daily basis. The Brahmins who rendered the divine hymns were given gold as dakshana.

Lord Krishna started talking to Akrura. He told him that he was indeed a great Bhagavatha and that he rolled in the sands of Brindavan and that none can match his bhakti. After saying this, he asked Akrura if we wished to earn a bad name for him. Akrura swiftly denied. Lord Krishna in reply told him that he took possession of the Syamantaka gem and relocated to Kasi, while the inhabitants of Dwaraka are thinking that it is indeed he who has the Syamantaka gem. So Lord Krishna told Akrura, “Please come with me to Dwaraka, I shall summon the court. Please let the whole Yadava clan know that it is indeed you who possess the Syamantaka and not me. You can however retain the gem with you.”  So Akrura implicitly followed Lord Krishna’s instruction and the Lord kept his word and gave the Syamantaka to the great sage.

If we ponder on Lord Krishna’s actions, why did he give the Syamantaka to Akrura? When Satrajit explained the significance of the gem in the court, he mentioned that anybody who possessed this great gem would be blessed with longevity, not face unexpected death and will lead a very prosperous life and that it would  bestow with two and half kilograms of gold daily.

But we clearly saw that it brought unexpected death to everybody, right from Satrajit, Prasenan to Satadanva. The characteristics of Syamantaka hold good only if the gold from the Syamantaka was used for dharmic purport [right use].  The motive of artha is dharma. It was only Akrura who put the gold for right usage.  That’s indeed why Akrura was not harmed.

Srimad Bhagavatham explains the  pala stuthi of  the Syamantaka Gem  story  that it will remove any infamy [appakrithi], absolves one from their sins and blesses one with prosperity and with peace of mind.

The satsang concluded with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

Aug 14: Faith in Guru and Surrender to the Lord

14 Aug

The satsang started with Nama Sankirtan by Sriramji from Houston, Texas.

Sri Narayanan from Boston spoke in relation to the Janmashtami.

“We celebrate quite a few events – Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturti, etc.  Where in our scriptures is the authority or the authenticity of such celebrations? In Srimad Bhagavatam, in the 11th Canto, the Lord describes the qualities of a Bhakta to Uddhava. In that, He mentions, “It is the duty of my devotee to always worship my form, go on pilgrimages, celebrate my birth and festivals related to me, sings my divine names and my divine glories… “.  So it is Lord Krishna Himself who is the authority for our celebrations.

This satsang happens in the context of the Janmashtami. And we are celebrating this great festival in our satsang through Nama Sankirtan and Katha Shravanam.  Can there be a better way to celebrate Krishna’s birth?”

Following the introductions, Sri Narayanaswamy from Seattle spoke on Surrender and faith.

“We all celebrated Janmashtami. Lord Krishna was born and He visited all our residences! How could He visit all the houses at the same time?   It is simply because He is a ‘Lila Lola’ (conjurer of divine plays).  In Brindavan, He was found with each of the hundreds of Gopikas who were playing ‘raasa’ with the Lord.  Likewise, He entered our houses, as well as our hearts!   When we talk about Krishna, Mahabharata comes to our mind.  – He has shown us two key principles – Surrender to the Lord and Faith in Guru.

The Kurukshetra battle was in the offing. Duryodhana rushes to Dwaraka to seek Krishna ‘s help, as also Arjuna from the Pandava’s side.  Duryodhana was the first to come.  He sat at the head of Lord Krishna who was asleep.  Arjuna came later and sat by His foot.   As soon as Krishna woke up, He saw Arjuna.  He welcomed both of them. Duryodhana rushed and said, ‘Krishna! I came first. Entertain my request first!” Krishna said, “But I saw Arjuna first!”  While Duryodhana was anxious about Arjuna’s request, Krishna said, ‘Two options – one: I will not touch arms, but will remain by your side. Two: I will offer all my gallantry’.  Arjuna, unhesitatingly said, ‘Prabhu!  You are the Jagadguru! Please be with us. That is all we want!’.  Duryodhana heaved a sigh of relief and passed on the accepted all the military power of Krishna’s army.    What happened eventually?  All of us know that the Pandavas prevailed over the Kauravas in the battle.  It was possible only due to the faith of Arjuna on his Guru, Lord Krishna.  When Guru’s blessings are abundant, no harm can near, and victory is ours.

In another instance, we see that when the Kurukshetra battle was over and the Pandavas were seated around Krishna in a tent, when Draupadi said, ‘Krishna! I have a question to you!  Everybody says you are ‘Aapat Bhaandava’.  You rushed to Gajendra’s call. You rushed to Prahalada’s call.  But, in my case, I shouted and cried for a long time, and you came in very late, when I was ill-treated in the court.  What sin did I commit?’.   Krishna smilingly replied, ‘Draupadi, when Duschadana wanted to remove your clothes, you did not call me first. You called your husband, the elders, the great warriors on the court, and all the brave men.  Even after that, you trusted your own might and fought with Duschadana.  Only at the end, when you ran out of options did you raise both your arms and called me.  Did I not come then?’  Draupadi replied, ‘Krishna!  I understand.  I surrendered to you only as a last resort.  Had I surrendered to you earlier, the story would have been different.  Thus surrender to the Lord is important.”

Now, can we see Krishna?  Kanchi Paramacharya says, it is not possible to see Him because Krishna denotes black.  Our mind is filled with darkness.  How can one see a black spot in darkness?  Krishna says in Bhagavat Gita, ‘Hey Arjuna, you cannot see Me with your naked eye. I am granting you special sight to ‘see’ me’.   So, its not possible to see Him with our eyes.  However we can see Him in our heart.  Having created the entire universe, He is hiding like a thief, nowhere else, but in our own hearts. So all we need to do is find him there – and that is Bhakti – make your heart white.  This is possible only through a Guru’s blessings .  ‘Gu’ denotes darkness and ‘Ru’ denotes removal.  Thus Guru is indispensible to dispel the darkness.

What is the fundamental difference between Mahabharata and Ramayana, given that both Rama and Krishna are avatars of the Lord.  Krishna’s avatar is a display of the Lilas, while Ramavatar is a human incarnation.  It is simply impossible to impersonate Krishna, be it stealing butter, killing his demon-uncle or dancing on a snake.  On the other hand, Rama lived as a truthful person, a honest husband (ekapatni vrata), obeyed his father’s word,  protecting the surrenderer, being a best friend etc.  Thus Krishna’s advices can be ‘heard’ and assimilated, where Rama’s life should be lived.

When Rama was informed that his coronation was being cancelled, he stood unmoved, with the same smile he sported on his face since morning – his expressions were unchanged even when he had to give up all grandeur and go to the forest.  Sorrows may come but we should see them with equanimity and consider them as the grace of God.

In the Mahabharata war, no one could conquer Dronacharya.  Krishna asks the Pandavas to utter a lie to fall him – and accosted Yudhishtra with this idea.  Yudhishtra turns Him down, because he wouldn’t utter a lie.  After Krishna’s convincing words, Yudhishtra shouts ‘Ashwattama hatah’ – in a high voice and ‘kunjarah’ in a low tone.  Is it right for the Lord to be an accomplice in untruth?

Tiruvalluvar says, ‘poimaiyum vaimai idatha purai theerntha nanmai payakkum enin’  – it is okay to utter a lie if it is going to provide relief to a suffering person.  A person bound to kill another, loses his target and asks you if you saw the target.  You can lie there (by saying you didn’t know) because you are indeed saving a life.

Thus let us have faith in our Guru and surrender to the Lord and be thankful to our Guru for the satsangs we are enjoying.

The satsang ended with prayers with Mahamantra.

Jul 31: First Anniversary – Rukmini Kalyanam

31 Jul

For any activity to succeed, be it spiritual or otherwise, we need the grace of Lord.  How do we know that our activity is being blessed by Lord?  The Lord’s presence can be felt in various ways, like through pleasant showers or a great Mahan comes when we undertake the activity (like Vamana in Bali’s sacrifice), or unexpectedly anything auspicious happens.

Likewise, our Friday satsangs started on August 1, 2008 and today is the first-year completion of the satsang and it happens to be on an Ashada-Friday A Friday on Ashada (Aadi) month is considered auspicious, because it is special to Lakshmi Devi.  What to say of today, when it is verily Varalakshmi Puja!  It is indeed a blessing.

The grace of Mahalakshmi is required to attain the Lord. In Srirangam, only after Mother’s darshan and after a big Pradakshina around the temple, can we have Lord Ranganatha’s sanctum.  By the time we reach the Lord’s sanctum, it is said, that the Mother quickly goes from her place to the Lord’s sanctum and apprises of our ensuing visit and places a recommendation on our behalf to show His compassion on us!    In Tirupati, Lakshmi Devi resides in the heart of Lord Balaji. Everytime a devotee comes and falls at the Lord’s feet, Mother looks at us and then at the Lord to see if the Lord blesses him.  First her divine sight (‘kataksha’) falls on us.  In Vaishnava Sampradaya, Lakshmi Devi’s krupa only can reach us to the Lord.  Even the fact that Varalakshmi Puja precedes Janmashtami by 2 weeks shows this very fact!

We sometimes mistake that Lakshmi is the goddess of monetary benefits alone. However, that is incorrect.  There are 8 different Lakshmis.  Even those who wish for Moksha have to pray to Moksha Lakshmi.  Let us pray to Mahalakshmi and our Sadguru Maharaj that our satsang flourish in a grand manner, and more and more devotees get an opportunity to attend satsangs.

Signifying the fact that there are 8 forms of Lakshmi Devi, In Srimad Bhagavatam, the birth of Mahalakshmi is in the 8th Canto – 8th Chapter – 8th Sloka.  During the churning of the milky ocean, she appears with enchanting beauty as a lightening.

Then it mentions how everyone wants to marry Lakshmi Devi, while the mother sees that everyone has a vice if he has a virtue. There was no one other than Lord Vishnu who did not have a vice, but only had virtues.  And it was only the Lord who stood without any expectations.  Hence she chose Lord Maha Vishnu as her match – ‘ramaa mukundam nirapeksham iipsitam’

Lakshmi Devi wishes to to be with the Lord in every of His avatars.  Another wedding of Lakshmi Devi, this time in the form of Rukmini Devi, with her consort, Lord Krishna is described in great detail.  Today we shall listen to “Rukmini Kalyanam” by Gayathriji from Boston.

Following this, Gayathriji gave a wonderful talk on Rukmini Kalyanam.

We talk a lot about the necessity and importance of Satsang. We all desire.  The best desire is to desire for Lord – the more we listen to the glories of the Lord, our desires for the Lord increases.  Rukmini’s wedding is an illustration of this very fact.

The Lord created Dwaaraka and he ruled it.  The wedding of Balarama with Revathi was also over, and it was time to get Lord Krishna married.

Bhishmaka was the king of Vidharba.  He had 5 sons – Rukmi, Rukmaratha, Rukmakesan, Rukmabaahu, Rukmamaali, and a little daughter – Rukmini.  She gets a lot of satsang through Sadhus in the palace.  They talk about the creation of the Universe, Matsya Kurma Avatars, Dhruva Charita, Prahlada Charita, and Rama Avatar.  They say, the very valorous Lord Rama has now incarnated as Lord Krishna.  They talk about the Lord’s birth, Puthana Moksha, Shakatasura Vadham, Navaneetha Lila, Brindavan Lilas, Vanabhojanam, Yagna Patni Uddharana, Kaliya Moksha, Govardhana Uddharana , Murali gana, Rasa Kreeda and Kamsa Vadam.  The very same Lord is now ruling Dwaraka.

Rukmini would long to marry Krishna and look at her dad.  Her dad knew his daughter’s heart. The 5 sons never had a chance to have satsang, so these stories do not interest them.  Her dad would think, ‘Will I be fortunate to have Lord Krishna as my son-in-law?’  The next day, in court, he expresses this wish.  Everyone but Rukmi is happy about the decision.  He opposes it and says, ‘Dad! Are you a lunatic? Krishna’s status is no match to us! He is pitch dark, while our Rukmini is golden. He is a cowherd. He has no education! He went to school only for 64 days!  His parents were in prison!  He is hiding from his enemies and lives inside the seas!’

Bhishmaka stopped him short and said, ‘You talk so because you lack Satsang. You cannot bad mouth someone because you don’t know about him. Do whatever you like.’

Rukmi decided that Sishupala, his close friend and the son of Dhamagosha (king of Chedi) was the apt match to Rukmini and he sent invitations to everyone for the wedding.   Rukmini was in the ‘kanya matam’ and when she learned of this news, she was depressed and broke down.  ‘Who will meet my Gopala and convey my message to him! There is just one day to go’, she thought.  ‘Can I send the cloud as the messenger? No! the cloud will be busy drinking the waters of the seas.  Can I send the bee? No, it will be lost in the honey of the Lord’s Vyjayanthi Mala.  How about my companions? No, its not possible in a day.  Mind is the fastest! So why not send it? If my mind goes to Sri Krishna, how can it ever return?’

One should not go in search of a Guru.  We donot have the intellect to judge a Guru. If our thirst for God is true, the Lord sends a Guru.  That was when the Guru came in the form of a Bhagavata, singing ‘Kshemam kuru Gopaala…’.  Consoled, she invited the Bhagavata and the girls, after paying respects, conveyed this information.

The Bhagavata said, ‘Lord Krishna would certainly be a great suit to you. Don’t worry, these invitations are only man-made.  Don’t worry about it.  I am on my way to Dwaraka, I will take your message.’  The Guru takes the message of the devotee to the Lord.  Rukmini wrote 7 crisp, sweet slokas as her message for Krishna.

The Bhagavata appeared at Krishna’s court in Dwaraka in no time. The Lord paid his respects and inquired. ‘I am coming from Vidarbha and I have a message from Rukmini.’, said the Bhagavata.  ‘Go on, read it yourself’, said the Lord.

He read it wonderfully, just as Rukmini would herself read it for Krishna.

Shrutvaa gunaan bhuvanasundara shrunvataam te
Nirvishya karna vivarair haratonga taapam’

Rukmini debates on how she would address the Lord.

“  ‘Swami’ ? No, he would think I am saint.  How about ‘raaja raaja raaja..sri..’  No. it would seem like a citizen with a petition!   How about ‘Prabhu’ ? no it would mean I am a beggar expecting money.   How about ‘Prananatha’? No! Krishna may think, how dare this girl address me as her saviour even before marriage!”

Finally she picks the word ‘Bhuvanasundara’ – a word that describes the sum and substance of the Lord’s beauty and prods Krishna to read further.

The letter contained answers to all of Krishna’s questions if he read the letter.

Krishna, ‘Bhuvanasundara! Hmm!  Are you entranced by my looks? Do you know about my character?’

She says, ‘Shrutvaa Gunaan!’ – I have heard all about your character.

Krishna, ‘What have you heard about me?

Rukmini, ‘Your character is such that all the worldly miseries are lost by merely listening to them.  Only one misery(‘thaapa’) is left behind – and that thaapa is the longing to attain Your Feet. ‘

Krishna, ‘Now that you have heard about me, have you seen me?’

Rukmini, ‘Roopam – akilaartha laabam’ – Your form is the essence of the world.  The more I listen to your glories, the more I get your form in my Dhyana and that is how I have seen you.

I am not an expressive girl. I am a shy person by nature.  Now I overcome my shyness and write this letter. Please understand how desperate I am to reach you, Oh Krishna!  Not only me, any one who listens to your glories and gets your form in Dhyana, will long to attain you!’

Krishna, ‘You desire to attain me! Have you done enough merits to attain me?’

Rukmini, ‘poorthe ishta datta dharma’. Yes Indeed I have done all the merits. But Krishna! You are not the one that can be reached by accruing merits, are you?  How can you be reached? You can be reached only by ‘aatma samarpana’ (surrendering oneself to You).  Here I surrender myself. Please accept me.’

Krishna, ‘Well, If I do accept you, you are going to be in the women’s harem and I am a king. How am I to meet you?’

Rukmini, ‘My marriage with Sishupala has been arranged. In our family custom, the bride will perform Gauri Pooja before the wedding and so I will be there and you can take me from there.’

Krishna, ‘Should I elope with you?’

Rukmini, ‘Nay! Only a coward does that.  You are a man of courage and valor.  Please bring your bow ‘saarnga’ and defeat anyone who opposes you and rightfully take me as kanyashulkam.’

Krishna, ‘Okay, If I don’t show up at the Gauri temple on the day of the wedding, are you going to marry Sishupala?’

Rukmini, ‘I will take hundreds of births to attain you. Not in one birth shall I get wedded to anyone other than you.’

Saying so, Rukmini signs ‘-Yours Rukmini Devi’.

The Lord is extremely pleased with this surrender of Rukmini Devi, gets his chariots ready and goes to Vidarbha desa followed by Balarama.

Rukmini is dressed like a bride in a magnificent silk saree with borders of swan-designs. Her hair is beautifully plaited and decked with ornaments and flowers. Her earrings are moving back and forth.  She sports a beautiful ‘kasturi tilaka’ on her forehead and wears different kinds and sizes of ornaments  on her neck. Her fingers shine with finger rings and wears a toe ring on her toe.  Her head is bent down and she walks at the pace of a swan, holding a lotus on one hand and her friend’s hand with the other.  She gets the blessings of all elderly women there.

Suddenly, she hears the sound of Panchajanya and senses the smell of Tulsi, which gives away the fact that the Lord has arrived there to take her.  At that moment, she sees the Bhagavata – her eyes well with tears of gratitude and folds her hands in respect.  After all, can we ever repay a Guru who takes us to the Lord?

The princes waiting to see Rukmini are blinded by the glitter on the gems in her finger-rings.  As her head bends down in shyness, her curly hair falls on her forehead.  In the pretext of setting it right, she raises her forehead and her eyes meet with that of the Lord.  The moment their eyes meet, the Lord takes her on His chariot and rides her away in a flash.  The enemies see with awe at the divine couple.  One of them shouted, ‘Hey! Krishna has taken away the bride. Let’s chase him!’  the other, still unable to come out of the awe, ‘Oh! What a wonderful sight it was!’

When Shishupala hears the news that Rukmini has been taken by Krishna, he screams at Rukmi in anger, ‘I trusted that you will get me married to her.  You betrayed me!’.  Rukmi waged a war against Krishna and the Yadava, but eventually loses.  Rukmi, out of shame, goes to a place called Bhojagatam.

Krishna brings Rukmini to his parents – Devaki and Vasudeva.  On an auspicious day, when all the Mahans, Rishis, Sadhus, Bhagavatas Devas and other elders are present, the Divine Couple are united in a wedlock, as described by Sri Narayana Thirtha in his ‘Kalyana tharangam’.

Acharya vachanaat sarvam akarotu yadunandhanah vaachaama gocharaatmaanam vasudevasva maayayaa
Dwaarakaa nagari madhye sahasrasthamba mantape
Rathna simhasanaaroodam sagalatram jagusurah

Alokaye rukmini kalyana gopalam….

Neelamegha nibhaakaaram baalaarka samaana chelam
nilambaranujam gopa baalakam neelalakandham ”

Nishaji added something that she listened to Sri Ramuji’s speech about this: ‘When Rukmini heard Govardhana Udharanam lila, she was pretty sure the Lord will accept her, for that Lila verily goes to show that the Lord does not forsake anyone who surrenders unto Him.’

Narayananji added, ‘Our Swamiji would say that all our Puranic stories have philosophies behind them but it is not necessary to look at philosophies when it comes to Bhagavatam, for the very stories are filled with Bhakti Bhaava.  Still, if there is a dry-hearted person who wants to look at philosophy behind this particular episode, there is certainly one!

Rukmini Devi represents the Jivatma which longs to attain the Paramatma and Lord Krishna is the Paramatma.  The 5 brothers of Rukmini represent the 5 senses.  These five senses always try to get us into worldly matters and away from God.  When the quest for God is true, the Guru comes by Himself and takes the message of the devotee to the Lord. If the message is delivered by the Guru, the Lord Himself comes.  We usually imagine that it is we who who have to go to temples to see the Lord. But the fact is, the Lord Himself comes right to our place and takes.

‘Rukmini Kalyanam’ is indeed the merger of the Jivatma into the Paramatma.

The satsang ended with prayers with Mahamantra Kirtan.

Jun 12: Bhagavatam and Mahans

12 Jun

The Namasankirtan was led by Sri Aravindji from Orlando, FL.

After introductions, Mukundji from Redding CA talked on Bhakti and Bhagavatam.

In Bhagavatam, Prahalada very beautifully mentions the types of Bhakti:

“Sravanam Kirtanam Vishnoh smaranam pada sevanam archanam vandamam dasyam sakhyam athma nivedanam”

Sravana ( is hearing about God’s Lilas , his virtues and stories),
Kirtana (singing of His  divine glories),
Smarana (remembrance of His name and his charithra),
Padasevana (service of His feet),
Archana (worship of God). Our Guru Maharaj always says that one should do bhakti in a very soft way (lalitham). One should place the flowers at the Lord in a soft manner and instead not throw them/
Vandana (prayer and prostration to Lord),
Dasya (cultivating the servant sentiment with God),
Sakhya (cultivating the friend-Bhava) and
Atma-Nivedanam is complete surrender of the self to God.

Our Guru Maharaj often tells His devotees that there is no such thing called big or small when one performs service [kainkaryam] to the Lord. If one person gets to lift the deity using his shoulders and another carries the umbrella for the Lord, both the services are considered the same. This is Dasya Bhakti.

Sakhya Bhakti – one can confide their sufferings and troubles to the Lord. Doing so, the Lord will alleviate us from the sufferings or make the suffering not a burden on us. But on the other hand, if we whisper our sufferings and troubles to our friends, they will only mock at us instead of being any help!

It is a fact that mere reading of Srimad Bhagavatam leads to liberation. This is very lucidly seen in the case of Atmadeva’s Charithra where Gokarna performed Srimad Bhagavata Saptham for his brother Dundukari, who attained the Holy feet of the Lord by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam with rapt attention. Such is the greatness of Srimad Bhagavatam.   Read about this story in detail here.

Let’s take another example that lucidly shows the importance of reading Srimad Bhagavatam. There was a great Mahan by name Poondhanam. He lived in Kerala and was an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan. He used to do Bhagavata Parayanam on a daily basis since he believed that Srimad Bhagavatam is verily Lord Krishna. When his family commitments increased and it was becoming difficult to read Bhagavatam in peace, he was on the look for a suitable place outside his house and he found a good place in his own garden. The spot was between two banana trees. Having found the place, he prepared a seat to keep the holy text and placed flowers on it everyday. He very much liked the third canto which describes the Vaikunta, the abode of Lord Vishnu.

He had a desire to visit Vaikunta. So he pleaded  to the Lord, to show him the greatness of Vaikunta. So that very night, the Lord gave him a glimpse of Vaikunta. While he was going round Vaikunta, he saw two Vishnu Dhutas(aides of Lord Vishnu) approaching him and they immediately fell at his feet and got his blessings. This scene completely shook Poondanam and was wonder struck as to why they fell at his feet. Nervous as he was, with a little courage he went and asked them as to why they fell at his feet. They started to explain what had happened to them. They were the banana trees that were planted in Poondanam’s garden. Since they were fortunate to listen to Srimad Bhagavatam on a daily basis, they were blessed to become Vishnu Dhutas(aides of Lord Vishnu)! They were very grateful to Poondhanam because of whom they reached Vaikunta. After witnessing this scene in his dream, he woke up from his sleep and stepped outside his garden. He saw that the two banana trees had fallen.

Thus it is clearly seen that by performing Srimad Bhagavata Parayanam can certainly lead one to Mukti.

Narayananji from Boston shared some thoughts after the lecture.

In most Puranas, we often read many seemingly unrealistic stories. But incidents that we see in the life-history of Mahans very similar to these stories prove that they indeed are true. One example we can quickly think of is from Narada’s life-history. By consuming the Uchchishta( food left-overs) of the Sadhus, he gained Jnana. A very similar incident can be found in the life-history of Sri Bodendra Saraswathi Swamigal where Swamigal’s uchchishta made a deaf and dumb boy chant and dance in Bhakti.  Read more about Sri Bondendral here.

Another example that one can quote is from Srimad Bhagavatam. Kubera had two sons, Nalakoobura and Manigriva. They are enjoying with some women unmindful of anything else near Mandakini river in Kailash  and that instant, Sage Narada passed by and his eyes caught sight of this loathsome sight. Any other normal human-being would have become very angry on seeing this sight. The women, on seeing him, fled away. However the two siblings who were drunk, stood in front of him. But the sage, who was compassion personified, says, “Oh! My sons of Kubera, for this act, you shall be born as trees”. He further added that Lord Krishna will come and free them.

Sage Narada’s words came true and they were born as Arjuna trees in the back-yard of Lord Krishna’s house.

Yashoda Maiya tied Krishna in a rope to a mortar and Krishna goes through these two trees with the mortar. When he squeezed through the trees with the mortar tied around his waist, the trees break up and the two sons of Kubera came out and immediately prostrated unto the Lord’s feet.  They sang a beautiful stuti singing the glories of the Lord. They say that the Lord gave ears only to listen to the glories of the Lord.  He gaves us mouth and voice only to sing His glories and Divine Names.

Lord Krishna, having listened to the Sutti, spoke to the siblings on the glory of the mahatmas. He told them it is because of the will of Narada that he had come to deliver them. When a Mahans’ sight falls on us, then the darkness (sins) are vanquished and it is imminent that we reach the holy feet of the Lord. Srimad Bhagavatam is verily Lord Krishna. Akin to how the Lord relieved the two sons of Kubera, the Lord in the form of Srimad Bhagvatham liberated the two banana trees.  There it was Sage Narada was instrumental for their liberation through Lord Krishna and here, its Poondhanam who was instrumental in the liberation of the banana trees through Srimad Bhagavatam.

Aravindji from Orlando mentioned about the significance of guru and divine names of the Lord. He briefly talked about Gajendra Moksha and also an incident from Yogiramsurathkumar’s life. One night Yogi in the middle of the sleep suddenly woke up and walked to a well. He found a horse lying deep inside the well. No sooner he started chanting the divine names of the Lord than the horse jumped from the well and ran away.

The satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.

Mar 6: A leaf from a Bhagavatottama’s life

6 Mar

The satsang started off with Nama Kirtan by Zivanji and family from Chicago, IL. This was followed by a quick round of introductions, after which Narayanan from Boston gave the discourse.

“It is said that “Shravanam” or hearing to the Lord’s glories is the easiest means removing the sins that we have accrued, and to attain chitta shuddhi which in turn leads us to liberation. Prahlada Swami in Srimad Bhagavatam, for this very reason, states “Shravanam” as the first step to Bhakti.
But as we go ahead reading Bhagavatam, in the first chapter of the 10th canto, we find the following Sloka:
“Nivrutta darshair upageeyamanat bhavaushadaat strotra manobiraamaath |
Ka uttamasloka gunanuvaadath puman virajetha vina pashughnat || “

Having spoken of the different dynasties and lineages in the Ninth canto, Sage Sukacharya very briefly speaks of the “Yadhu” dynasty, the kings of the dynasties and also about Lord Krishna’s life. A worried Parikshit asks the sage, ‘Oh Holy One! You have expounded the all the clans and kingdoms in great detail. You have spoken greatly of my grandfather. But why have you cut short the story of Lord Krishna. I have been all along waiting to listen to His divine exploits. Am I not fortunate enough to listen to them? Have I committed such a grave sin as killing a cove that I am not fortunate enough and entitled to listen to Krishna Katha?”

Cow is considered to be very sacred and is considered to be a form of the Lord himself. Killing of a cow is considered as a grave sin. He asked Sage Sukha “Did I kill a cow (‘pashughnat’) and incur so much sin that I am not able to listen to Krisha Katha?”

It is only due to the merits accrued in the past that we are gifted to listen to Krishna Katha. We see this in our daily life don’t we? How many people try to escape away from a Krishna Katha discourse happening next door, with silly reasons as “I don’t have time”, “I have already heard it” and so on?

Now comparing the two facts, firstly we said, the sins getting destroyed by listening to Krishna Katha and secondly if one has sinned then he cannot listen to the stories of Lord Krishna. Does this not sound like a chicken and egg paradox?

Srimad Bhagavatam provides the solution for this conundrum and this can be found in Bhagavatham itself. Krishna’s life-history is depicted in the tenth canto only. The first nine cantos lead us to wash away our sins so that we can listen to Krishna katha in the tenth canto. The first nine cantos beautifully explain the glories of the devotees of the Lord and that makes us mature enough to listen to the stories of the Lord himself in the tenth canto. Otherwise we may ask silly questions and not enjoy the ‘bhaava’ of the katha.

Once a devotee asked our Guru Maharaj as to why Lord Krishna did Rasa Leela. In reply to this question, he asked him to only see and enjoy all the good deeds that he had done, by killing the demons etc. In fact Rasa Leela starts with the term “Bhagavaan api”. We should come to terms that we are talking about the glories of the Lord.

Talking about Rasa Leela, our Guru Maharaj once mentioned an interesting take away point. The playful games of Krishna and the Gopis are celebrated as Holi, specifically in the North of India. In south India, in villages, it is celebrated as the festival of ‘Kaama’. ‘Kaama’ is cupid or the Lord of love. On the same day, when the Lila of Lord Krishna’s Rasa with the Gopikas is celebrated, also celebrated is the burning away of ‘Manmadha’ (Kaama) by Lord Shiva through His third eye. Both Shiva and Krishna were bereft of lust and they exhibited this in different ways. While Lord Shiva showed that He had conquered lust by destroying Kaama, Lord Krishna did so, by Rasa Lila. How can one say that Lord Krishna is devoid of any lust?? If we take the Krishna Ashtotara (which contains the hundred and eight names of Lord Krishna), there is one name that is unique to Lord Krishna only – “Aanadi Brahmacharinae Namaha” – He is an eternal celibate!

Our Guru Maharaj beautifully explains this fact: A person has no craving for wealth. One way to do this is to embrace the path of sanyasa by renouncing everything in this world and sit in the forest thinking about the Lord, thereby eliminating the need to touch money. The other way is to be in the family and accumulate a lot of wealth but not be greedy by giving away all the wealth as charity. Is it not?

By listening to the stories of Bhaagavatas (devotees of the Lord), we become mature enough to listen to the stories of the Lord. Now who is a Bhagavata? Anyone who chants the name of the Lord (even once in his lifetime) is verily a Bhagavata. A Bhagavatottara is one who incessantly chants the name of the Lord. A Bhagavatottama (the superlative) is one whose very touch and sight makes people chant and dance to the joy of Nama. Today, we will speak of one such Bhagavatottama.

The Lord when he took Rama Avatar showed the ideal path of leading a life. In Krishna Avatar Lord showed His “Parakrama” (power) throughout His lifetime. But the message (about surrender) that he conveyed was very subtle. In order to make the message more blatant , the Lord wanted to take yet another avatar and as He loved the Krishna Avatar, He decided to take the form of Krishna avatar in kali yuga and make the message very clear. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Navadeep on a full moon day in the year 1486. That day happened to be lunar eclipse. No sooner was he born than he started sending out the message for the Kaliyuga which was chanting the Divine Names of the Lord. And how did he accomplish this? By being born on a lunar eclipse day! it is considered very auspicious to do any sadhana on the day of eclipse and the merits accrued would be far more than any other normal day. Navdeep being a place of learned scholars, this fact was a no-brainer. All of them had gathered in the banks of the Ganges to perform Japa and Hari Nama Sankirtan!

Right from his childhood, akin to Lord Krishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (he was fondly called Nimayi or Gauranga)’s life was filled with pranks and mischiefs.

In Krishna’s leela’s we read a nice episode called “Yagna Patni Uddharana”. The learned scholars didn’t possess any compassion or mercy in their heart and were haughty about their knowledge and once continued to do Yagas without realizing that the hungry Lord Sri Krishna and his friends were in their neighborhood. It is seen how Lord Krishna showers His compassion on their spouses and eventually gets the scholars to His feet. That’s a beautiful episode in Bhagavatham.

Akin to this, in the life-history of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he subdues the ego of so many different pandits and it is seen how he takes them to his feet. There once lived a pandit by name Keshav Suri, who hailed from Kashmir. He was a very learned scholar. In those days there was a practice called Digvijaya, where pandits go to any places to conquer other pandits. They debate with other pandits and enslave the losers. This Keshav Suri Pandit was a very successful ‘Digvijaya pandit’ and he had a battalion of pandits who always followed him. He happened to visit Navadeep and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was taking classes to young disciples. Keshav Suri wanted to debate with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The latter being very humble in nature didn’t want to debate and hence was reluctant. Digvijay Pandit immediately composed hundred verses on the Ganges. The pundit who was very complacent that Mahaprabhu couldn’t have grasped any of the verses, asked him to comment on the 100 verses and speak about their pros and cons. To his surprise, Mahaprabhu recited all the verses one after another in quick succession. He recited all the hundred verses and gave the positive and negative points about the verses and commented as to how they should be written. This really angered the Digvijay Pandit but he agreed that they were genuine mistakes. This pandit who had the blessings of Lordess Saraswati went to her and asked her as to why he failed in front of a small lad. She immediately replied that he was not a small lad and that he was Lord Krishna himself.

There was another Pandit by name, Sarvabhauma in the royal court. He was very haughty about his knowledge and didn’t want to take the path of Bhakti.

Once while Mahaprabhu was with Sarvabhauma Pandit, the latter took a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam (Canto 1, Chapter 7) that goes ‘aatmaraamaascha munaya: nirgrantaat apyurukrame…’), expounded on this verse and gave nine different commentaries. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took the same verse and gave sixty one different commentaries! There was no other way for the pandit but to surrender on to his feet.

We have seen in Krishna leela about the sons of Kubera, Nalakupura and Manigriva. They are inherently good natured but after having consumed a liquor called ‘varuni’ they misbehave in front of Narada in intoxication and become trees in the spell of Narada’s curse, only to be liberated by Lord Krishna during His childhood.
In a very similar case, there are these two sinners, Jagayi and Madayi who are liberated by Mahaprabhu. They are Brahmins but they commit so many atrocities and sins. They were in fact numb to making sins and they only committed sins all the time. It was obviously Mahapranhu who was destined to correct these two people.

Once during a Nagara Sankirtan, when Mahaprabhu was absorbed in the ecstasy of Nama Kirtan, Nityananda Swami (who was always with Mahaprabhu) who was leading from the front, spotted Jagayi and Madayi. On seeing them he requested them to chant the Names of the Lord. Sinners as they were, they started to mock Nithyananda Swami and the stronger of the two, Madayi hit him and Nithyananda Swami started to bleed profusely. Seeing this, Mahaprabhu came to front and when Madayi was about to strike him again, Jagayi stopped him saying that he was on the verge of death and asked him not to hurt the Swami anymore. After having given the first aid to Nityananda Swami, Mahaprabhu immediately embraced Madayi and thanked him for his compassion. This very act of Mahaprabhu made him realize his folly and immediately surrendered himself to Mahaprabhu Eventually, both became his followers. Mahaprbhu liberated them by initiating them in Nama.

He has liberated so many people by mere touch and by singing the maha mantra and he made the wild animals like lions and tigers dance to his tune of the Mahamantra.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna embraces his very ardent devotee Trivarka (Koobja) who had a hunchback and the moment Lord Krishna touched her, she became a beautiful woman.

Being a Sanyasi, Mahaprabhu went around the country on foot. He even visited South India, all the way to Sri Rangam and Kanyakumari. On such a visit to a place called Sri Kurmam in Andra Pradesh happened this wonderful incident.

Vasudeva lived in that town and was a leprosy patient. He had sores all over his body and worms dwelling in his wounds. He was an outcast from the village for obvious reasons. However he was so kind at heart that he would take the worms that fell from his sores put them back on, for he did not wish to deprive them of their food!

Having heard the news of Mahaprabhu’s arrival, Vasudeva was all excited to have the darshan of the great mahatma. However, the next day Vasudeva missed the darshan of Mahaprabhu and wept bitterly. Seeing the heart of this great devotee from far away, Mahaprabhu ran and came back, merely to give darshan to Vasudeva. The moment he saw Vasudeva, he embraced him and showered all his love. This very act of his turned Vasudeva into a very handsome man and cured him of his leprosy. Vasudeva’s joy knew no bounds and he immediately prostrated to Mahaprabhu. Thanking Mahaprabhu profusely for his compassion, Vasudeva asked as to why he cured him, for his disease kept him grounded and now that he was cured, his ego of being handsome will play havoc. Mahaprabhu in reply told him that it was all Gods’ grace and that his ego will not shoot up if he chanted the Divine Names of the Lord and left.

We could go on with such great incidents from this Mahatmas’ life, but we are time constrained.

Lord Rama had to come down for fourteen thousand years and Lord Krishna took about hundred twenty five years to accomplish their tasks, while Mahaprabhu lived for only forty-eight years and in that span, he spent only a part of it carrying his mission and was very successful and till date Mahamantra kirtan is carried out in different places.

His only literary work was Shikshashtakam, consisting of eight verses talking of the Glories of the Bhagavata, the Lord and the efficacy of His Divine Name.

Our Guru Maharaj in his maha mantra kirtan, sings –
“Chaithanya devaruum Nithyanandharum Bakthi vellam paaiychiya Keerthanam Paadeere!”

The mantra (“Hare Rama..”) with which Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nithyanandji flooded the world with devotion.

Nithyanandji’s jayanthi is on the ninth of March and Mahaprabhu’s jayanthi is on tenth of March and we are all thankful to the Almighty for having given us an opportunity to listen about the Mahatmas during this time.

After the discourse, Sri Vinodji who is traveling from India shared some of his experiences with our Guru Maharaj.

The satsang wrapped up with Namakirtan with prayers for Namadwaar and the economy.

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