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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.

Feb 13: Glory of Bhagavatam

13 Feb

Feb13’09 Telecon Satsang Blog-Roll

The telecon satsang started with NamaSankirtan led by Bhoomaji from Dallas. After a brief round of introductions, Narayananji from Boston briefly talked about the two types of Dharma and Sriramji from Houson talked about the significance of Srimad Bhagavatam.

There are two types of dharma, namely Vaidika Dharma and ‘Poortha’ Dharma. Vaidika Dharma advocates the path to attain the lord while Poortha dharma preaches the ways to lead a happy and a prosperous life. The most appropriate vaidika dharma for this age is Bhagavata Dharma which has been clearly advocated by great Mahatmas and Gurus. Bhagavata Dharma is done by Bhagavatas and is the dharma for everyone irrespective of any caste and creed. The primary essence of Bhagavata Dharma is Nama Sankirtan. With this very thought in mind regular satsangs are conducted with Nama in the beginning and at the end of satsang. The satsangs also extol the glories of the Lord. We are indeed blessed to follow Bhagavata Dharma.

Followed by introductions, Sriramji from Houston lectured on the significance of Srimad Bhagavata Srimad Bhagavatam.

In general there are two kinds of states for any living being- drinking and eating. And these two states have their body as the base.
“Aanando Brahmeti Vyajanat” That is how the Upanishads are trying to explain the state of a Brahma Jnani. When a human being lives his life and he continues to progress in his life thinking that it is the body that is the cause of real happiness. When they die, they come back to earth as any life forms that think they are the body. They come back to earth to any life form that can basically eat and drink.

There are a few others who have a little more discrimination (Viveka) who are able to recognize that the Self is beyond the body and relate it with the Prana the life-force (as one would realize when he sees a corpse). When they die, they are blessed to go to the Pitru Loka (the world of the manes).

This thought is not completely right either, for if the Prana is the true Self, a sleeping man (who still has life-force in him) should realize happiness and sorrow. But that is not the case. Then one realizes that it is the mind that is the Self. Our experiences and activities are driven by the mind (eg. Dreams). A blind man has a vision based on his mental capacity. A person who thinks so and walks on the path of Vaidika Dharma reaches ‘Swarga’ (heaven).

Then there is this set of people who identify the Self with the intellect (the ability to rationalize based on previously known facts). They prepare for the life after death by doing Upasana of their favorite deity. After they leave their mortal coil, they go to different places in the heaven based on the fruits of their Upasana and Tapas.

Now coming to the Upanishad Mantra, “Aanando Brahmeti Vyajanat’ – It is the state of a Jivan Mukti. They are completely immersed in the “Brahma Swaroopam”. Their state is inexplicable. They are in a state of eternal bliss.

That eternal bliss that was attained in Krita Yuga through meditation, and through sacrifices in Treta Yuga and through Puja in Dwapara Yuga is attained through Nama Sankirtan in Kali Yuga.

So what does this got to do with Srimad Bhagavatam?
The essence of Srimad Bhagavatam is to explain the very fact that in Kali Yuga, Nama Sankirtan is one of the easiest ways to reach the ultimate.

When Avatara Purushas are born and descend on the earth they come down with a purpose in their mind. And they will not rest until it is achieved. One such Avatara Purusha was Sage Veda Vyasa. He classifed all the Vedas and the Upanishads and all gave all the Puranas. In spite of all his great works, he was feeling depressed. At that time, Sage Narada came along to Sage Veda Vyasa’s ashram to alleviate his stress.

Sage Veda Vyasa is none other than Lord Narayana himself. Sage Narada is a great Bhakta. The greatness of Sage Narada is that he was welcomed by Sage Veda Vyasa by offering Pujas to him!

Sage Narada advised him to expound on the glories of Lord Vasudeva and until he does that, the sorrow in his mind will not go away. Sage Veda Vyasa did not take this Avatar to give all the Vedas and Shastras but to give us Srimad Bhagavatam which talks about the glories of Lord Vasudeva. Sage Veda Vyasa initially was clueless on how to start Srimad Bhagavatam and requested Sage Narada to help him get started on it. Sage Narada explained how he had attained the lotus feet of the Lord by serving the Sadhus.

He also told him that by consuming the food consumed by Mahans (‘Uchchishtam’) one would get Bhakti. He told Sage Veda Vyasa that by elaborating on the life histories of the devotees of the Lord will instill Bhakti and devotion in the listeners.

Accordingly, the first nine cantos in Srimad Bhagavatam talk about the Bhakta Charithra, to name a few, Dhruva, Prahlada, Ajamila, Jadabharata etc.

Srimad Bhagavatam prepares one and all to listen the stories of the devotees of the Lord. One can cross the ocean of samsara by listening to stories of the devotees of the Lord rather than to stories of the Bhagawan Himself!

Srimad Bhagavatam deals with ‘Keerthana’ (singing the Names and glories of the Lord) and ‘Katha Sravanam’ (listening to His stories).

No sooner was Sage Shuka born (he was born as a young man) than he left his family as he was a born Jnani. Once Veda Vyasa asked some of his disciples to go to the forest to collect wood. The forest posed a threat of wild animals and hence the disciples were scared to go to the forest.
Sage Veda Vyasa realizing this, taught them the beautiful sloka…
“Barha Pitam Nata Vara Vapuh karnayo Karnikaram
Bibrath Vasah kanakapisham vaijayanthim cha malam…”
(A sloka from the Venu Gitam 10:21 of Srimad Bhagavatam that describes the enchanting form of Lord Sri Krishna while describing Lord Krishna’s playing of the flute)

Once Lord Rudra, all the Devas and Goddess Saraswati descended to the Earth to listen to Lord Krishna’s flute rendition. The master of ‘Sama Gana’ that Lord Siva was, He could not comprehend the Raga that emanated from Sri Krishna’s flute, when Goddess Saraswati immediately told him not to analyze the Raga, but enjoy the ‘Anuraaga’ (the grace and love expressed by Lord Krishna’s flute rendition), for the only sound that came from the flute was ‘Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!’

Sage Veda Vyasa taught this sloka to his disciples and assured them that this would transfix any wild animal and hence would render the forest safe for the disciples!

Sri Shuka who was in the forest heard this sloka and was attracted by the beauty of the Sloka. He immediately approached the disciples and begged them to take Him to their Master who taught them such a wonderful Sloka. Thus Bhagavatam united Sri Shuka finally with his father Sage Veda!

The story continues as to how Sage Veda Vyasa taught Srimad Bhagavatam to Sage Shuka and how he in turn narrated it to King Parikshit who attained Moksha by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam in rapt attention.

The Lord is blamed of being partial to His devotees when it comes to showering His grace! In order to wipe off this blemish, the Lord hands Srimad Bhagavatam to the devotee and with that as an excuse, showers His blessings on the soul! Thus, if we are even able to lay our hands on this sacred Purana, it is only because of His sheer grace.

It is said that King Parikshit by listening to Srimad Bhagavatam attained the lotus feet of the Lord instantly at the end of seven days. Our Guru Maharaj says that Katha Sravana (listening to stories of the lord) is the first step to Bhakti.

After this blissful satsang talk, Sri Thiagarajan from Dallas mentioned a key take away point. When we start to chant the Divine Names of the Lord, the lord enters our hearts and resides there that very moment. So when we do any false act it is not only we who are responsible for this wrong doing, but also make God as an accomplice. So let us avoid any wrong doing that we do intentionally in our daily lives.

The satsang wrapped up with prayers and NamaSankirtan.

Jan 09: Surest Path to Liberation

9 Jan

Blessed were those who attended this unique satsang which is conducted through the medium of telephone. About 18 families attended the satsang. The satsang began with Nama Sankirtan lead by Ramyaji from San Jose, CA. The lecture was given by Sri Narayananji from Boston, which was preceded by introductions.

He started with the Mahamantra
“Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare

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

Narayananji spoke on the glory and compassion of the Lord and described one of the easiest paths to attain Him.

“One cannot measure the compassionate nature of the lord.
If we see the sky, we see the stars, the moon and the planets. What a wonderful creation of the Almighty.! They are so synchronous to each other. If we look at the plant kingdom, we see trees with leaves in many different shapes, colors and in innumerable sizes. If we delve into the animal world, we cannot help wondering wonder on His adept creation right from micro-organisms to sharks and dinosaurs. The Lord is a beautiful Rasika. He is known for his ‘Raasikya’ (connoisseur).

If we ponder further on His creations, we can clearly see that no human is the same as the other. If we ask a painter to paint a picture, he can paint a unique painting. If we ask him to do another different painting, he does it. Perhaps after few paintings, he will tend to reuse the ideas of his previous paintings to create new one. That is the case with a novel author who may reuse his ideas in writing subsequent novels. When we take the case of human beings, God has created each one with not only a different facial identity but also with different taste buds, emotions, attitude and personality. The beauty of the Lord is that he possesses a shy nature and doesn’t want to show off His beautiful creation. He is omnipresent. He is present in the beautiful melody of the cuckoo, in the feathers of a peacock and in the beautiful sound emanating from the flute. The Lord is called “Paroksha Priya”. He likes to hide his great qualities. Such is the compassion and humility of the Lord Himself!

A great Sri Vaishnava Saint , Sri Vedanta Desika wrote a beautiful piece of literature called Daya Shatakam. It is a collection of hundred verses that extols the compassion of the Lord. In that, he goes to the extent of saying that the ‘Pralaya’ (the dissolution of the universe) is also an act of compassion of the Lord!

Let’s probe into this. If we are forced to work all the twenty four hours a day, without sleep, then it leads to total chaos, does it not? Can we imagine a world without the concept of sleep? ‘Pralaya Kaala’ is when everyone is in ‘laya’, just like a mother putting her baby to sleep and wakes it up again when the ‘Shrishti’ (Creation) begins. Is it not an act of compassion of the Lord?

But we as humans, fail to understand His very gracious nature. So the Lord to attempt again to shower His grace on us. So He gave us the Vedas. The Vedas are ‘Apaurusheya’. It is the only text that is not composed by a human. The moment a scripture is written by humans, it is subject to ‘Raga Dvesha’ and ‘Paksha Paata’ (prejudices of the human mind). The Vedas are the breath and the language of the Lord. It doesn’t contain any prejudice. The Lord showed us the means to attain him through the Vedas.

Our Swamiji beautifully says that we see many different deities in this universe. All these different forms of the lord have their own temples and have their own ways of worship. There is only one deity for whom worship is not prescribed at all. He is Lord Brahma. Why is this so? Our Swamiji gives a rational reason as to why it is so. Lord Brahma is Himself in the form of Vedas. The moment we give a form and temple to Him, we tend to ignore the Vedas and instead do processions and utsavs. Hence it is strictly prescribed that there is no temple for the Vedas and the Vedas verily are the Lord. What is the best way to worship Lord Brahma? The one who learns Vedas is verily worshipping him. Lord Brahma has 4 faces (Chaturmukha). The word ‘Mukha’ has two interpretations in Sanskrit. It means face as well as mouth. The right usage depends on the context. In this background, the word ‘Mukha’ means mouth. He chanted the four different Vedas through the ‘Chatur Mukha’. He gave the Vedas in which he showed two most important facts. The first of which is how one should lead a life and secondly, the means to attain the Lord’s lotus feet.

But then we human beings were not intelligent enough to understand this and we have been going in our own ways. It is said in Bhagavat Gita “Tasmaat Shaasthram Pramananthe Karyaakaarya vyavastitau”

Sri Veda Vyasa says that “Veda Shastram Param nasti” which means that the Vedas are the supreme Shastras and urged everyone to look into the Vedas to see how one should lead his life. So, the Lord out of his sheer compassion decided to show himself the path in addition to instructing the people through the Vedas. Hence He took the beautiful avatars of lord Rama and Lord Krishna. In Rama Avatar, he showed how a man should lead a life by following the path of Dharma. It is shown in Vedas “Dharmam Chara”. Coming in the human form, Rama showed how to lead a life. In Krishna Avatar, he clearly showed how to attain Him. By the virtue of the qualities of his devotees he showed the path to attain Him. All the Vrajavasis and Gopis in Brindavan showed the path to attain the ultimate feet of the Lord and that is ‘Sharanagati’. The Lord in Krishna Avatar shows how one needs to surrender unto Him. Our Guru Maharaj beautifully conveys this in his kirtan – “Kazhalai thookki thalaiyil vaithu gathi idhuvae endran” – Showing the path to Surrender, the path to Liberation.

That was an ideal example for all of us to follow. However the Lord’s nature was to punish the negative minded (‘asuras’ or demons). Taking exception to this act of the Lord, He Himself vowed not to look at any ‘asuric’ quality of humans.
And so he decided to take the form of Archavatara (form of a deity in the temple). Thus he promised not to look at negativities and will only keep showering His grace. But did this still show the compassion of the Lord?

When we go to a temple (which is nothing but a wish-fulfilling tree ‘Kalpatharu’ / Chinthamani), they can bestow us with whatever we ask, but they don’t suggest the right thing that one should ask for. And since the Lord had taken a vow to not to open his mouth, this form was also becoming counter-productive as people became more and more mean and selfish.

The Lord again started to ponder on how to take the humans to His feet and that was when he decided to send the Sadhus down to the earth as Avatara Purushas to show His grace. These Mahans speak the glory of the Lord, but only the Lord knows the glory of these Mahans! And Alas! The Lord does not speak! So the glory of the Avatara Purushas goes unspoken. It can only be experienced!

The Lord has been a little thrifty on the number of such Avatara Purushas on earth! It is by mere compassion of the Lord that one can get attracted to these Jivan Muktas.

There are three things that take us ashore but they themselves remain as it is. Firstly, it is the ladder that takes one up but stands in the same place. Secondly it is the boat that helps one to cross a body of water body but it itself remains in the water. Thirdly, the citrus fruit (Elimichangai in tamil). It aids to alleviate indigestion. It helps to digest all the undigested food in the stomach but it itself doesn’t get digested.

The Mahans/ Jivan Muktas are very similar to this. They take us ashore and they themselves remain there. Such is the Lord’s compassion. Why is that they don’t get liberated? It is because, they are always in the state of Mukthi and they don’t need to attain a different state.

To get a darshan of such Sadhus is indeed very rare. In Srimad Bhagavatam, when Sri Suka was wandering in the forests, there were some womenfolk who were bathing in the river. When they saw Him coming, they immediately circumambulated and prostrated unto him. When they were asked as to why they didn’t even cover themselves properly before prostrating to the great sage, they replied that getting a glimpse of these Jivan Muktas is very rare and that they didn’t want to miss it! So precious is the darshan of Mahapurushas.

One has attained the feet of such a Jivan Mukta as a Guru. What next?
There are four things that one needs to follow. 1. Pilgrimage. There is no more a need to take a bath in Ganga and Yamuna and go to pilgrimages. Just by merely drinking the water from the feet of a Guru is equivalent to going on a pilgrimage. The reason for a pilgrimage tour is to attain ‘Chitta Shuddhi’ (cleansing our mind). When our mind is faced with lot of disturbances, the first thing that one needs to do is to come to a calm state. A pilgrimage is a place that can accomplish it. In Srimad Bhagavatham it is said,
“Swayam hi theerthaani punanti santha:” It says that the Jivan Muktas are truly the pilgrimages. The drops of water from the feet of the Guru are verily Ganga and Yamuna.

Secondly one should stop worrying of his sins. A glimpse of his vision on us will wipe out all the sins. Sri Andal says “Theeyil thoosagum cheppaelor rembabvai”, which means that all the sins will be burnt to ashes the moment the Guru’s gracious vision falls on us. The moment when one’s sins are washed out, it is then we get the taste of the Lord. It is only then we get Bhakti.

Thirdly, one should partake the food left ofer by the Guru. (the Uchchishta). When we take in anything that is left over by our Guru’s consumption, it means to follow his Upadesa. Follow whatever he says verbatim. Never ask any questions. Chant the Divine Name that He has given as a Upadesa to you. That will give Bhakti.

And lastly, Surrender to His feet in order to attain liberation. Prostrating to him means that we are not only giving ourselves but also our family members and our possessions. It is under the supervision of the Guru that we take care of our family members and possessions but they essentially belong to him.
When we do the above mentioned four things in a repeated manner, then one is for sure to get his abundance grace.

The beauty here is that one is not directly attaining the Lord by any one of these means, but the glory is if it were a true Guru then it will automatically lead you to the Lord.

A beautiful example to this is Sri MadhuraKavi Azhwar. He was a disciple of Sri Nammazhwar. Being a very learned scholar himself, Madurakavi Azhwar served His guru. He only sang praises of his Guru. He wrote ten ‘pasurams’(verses) in which he has sung praises of his Acharya Namazhwar and not the Lord. And without even his knowledge, he alluded to the Lord!
In his pasurams, he starts off by saying –
“Kanninum Siruthambinal Katum na pannirpaeruvai” He refers to Sri Krishna’s leela and says Oh! my Acharya who fell for Sri Krishna’s Damodhara Leela, unto that guru, I prostrate!

When one prostrates to the Guru and follows the four steps as mentioned He is for sure to attain the feet of the Lord. We are all fortunate to be at the feet of our Sadguru Maharaj and for the Nama Sankirtan, which is a simple path that he has shown us. May the grace of Sadguru and the Lord be with all of us.

Sri Sankarji from San Jose mentioned about the second Bhagavatam Study Circle that was scheduled on 10th Jan at his residence.

The satsang was wrapped with Nama Sankirtan which was lead by Chitraji from San Jose, CA

A Mahan about Another Mahan

26 Sep

Sri Shantanandapuri Maharaj is the disciple of Sri Purushottamananda Maharaj, who was the direct disciple of Sri Brahmananda (Raakhal) – who was one of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s prime disciples. All of them are verily Jivan Muktas. Once Sri Shantanandapuri Maharaj visited Chennai.  During that time, Sri Sri Swamiji was not in town.  Maharaj was taken to the Ashram where all the students chanted at His presence, led by the teachers.  Maharaj was extremely pleased with the environ of the Ashram, the divinity of the place, and the lusture in the face of the young patasala students and their teachers.  He spoke very highly of these.   I happened to be at the Ashram.  We were very happy to hear it from him.

Once I happened to visit Kankal, which is a place in Uttar Pradesh.  This was quite a few years ago.  Sri Sri Swamiji asked me to visit Vashishta Guha which was a place close by Kankal.  Vashishta Guha is a place where Sri Shantanandapuri Maharaj, who is a wandering monk,  comes and stays for a few months.  He had a very huge following in the North.
I was fortunate to stay in the Ashram for a few days.  Every time a devotee came to have Sri Shantanandapuri Maharaj’s darshan, Maharaj would introduce me to them and speak very highly of Sri Swamiji and our Ashram.

I imagined that Maharaj was making me feel at home and was being kind to me, and hence these words.   But Maharaj truly meant it! One day, I offered to do ‘kainkarya’ cleaning up a room, when Maharaj told me, ‘Do you know who your Guru is?  So many gurus may come by in this world. But it is extremely rare to see an Acharya.  And your Guru is one!  And what He has done till date is not even a miniscule percentage of what He is going to be doing in future!’

I was surprised and baffled beyond words hearing this from Maharaj!   Indeed only Jnanis can understand other Jnanis!

Ms. Nirmala Giri, Chennai

(During a telecon Satsang)