Tag Archives: vallabhacharya

Nov 4: Raskhaan

4 Nov

Ramyaji from San Jose delivered the satsang lecture.

The Lord’s form (‘Swaroopam’) is verily Srimad Bhagavatham. Sage Sounakar asked about the greatness of Srimad Bhagavatham to Sage Suta and he gave a beautiful explanation. The Lord was about to depart to Vaikunta after accomplishing all his tasks. At that very moment, Uddhava, the close friend of the Lord, confided to him “Oh Lord Krishna, you had come down to establish dharma and you have now enticed everyone by your divine love [prema], verily through your roopam. By abdicating your beautiful countenance and retiring to Vaikunta will make the devotees lives miserable. Even though you are the Brahman who is beyond name and form, how can the devotees focus their mind on that Brahman who is more than name and form?”

This question made the Lord to ponder and so he decided to establish dharma during his absence. In Lord’s incarnation as Rama, he took all his devotees with him to Vaikunta when he shed his mortal coil. When the Lord manifested as Lord Krishna, he took out his entire divine glow [Tejas] and merged it into Srimad Bhagavatham.

“Thirodaya Pravishtoyam Srimad Bhagavatharnavam
Thanaeyam Vangmayai Murthim Prathyaksha Varthatae Hareh”

Lord Krishna is verily residing in Srimad Bhagavatham in the form of Shabda roopam .

We all sing – “Srimad Bhagavatham Swayam harireva”. The reason Srimad Bhagavatham is known as Shabda Roopam is because the Lord first gave it to Brahma who in turn disclosed it to Sage Narada who then expounded it to Sage Veda Vyasa. He finally wrote it and it finally happened to be a dialogue between Sage Sukha and King Parikshit. We all know that King Parikshit was cursed to die by the sting of snake called Takshaka. This death curse came in the form of a “shabdha roopam” from a young Brahmin boy – “Vaak Vajram Vishasharja”. The boy sent a curse [ a weapon] in the form of sound. The weapon possessed by Brahmanas is “Vak Vajram”.  Due to their intense tapas whatever comes from their mouth is bound to happen, be it good or bad. In order to counteract a curse Sage Suka gave Srimad Bhagavatham in the same form of sound to King Parikshit.

Even though King Parikshit was going to die by the sting of a serpent, Sage Suka gave Parikshit Bhagavatam to save him from the sting of the serpent. It is said that Srimad Bhagavatham saved King Parikshit not from a serpent called Takshaka but indeed from serpents called Kala and Samsara. That is verily the reason for Sage Suka to expound Bhagavatam to King Parikshit. By verily listening to Bhagavatam, one is bestowed with “Kaivalaika Prayojanam”. The term “Kailvalyam” connotes attaining the holy feet of the Lord by merely listening to Srimad Bhagavatam. The ultimate goal of one’s life is to attain the highest state; a state that is devoid of any sorrows. One should listen to Bhagavatam with this precept firmly rooted in everyone’s heart.

Each one of us has a desire in our lives be it in the spiritual or mundane world. We need to have dedication and steadfast faith [belief] to achieve that desire.  More importantly, we need to have self-confidence to achieve the goal. We all know that the happiness derived from mundane world is fleeting and fades over time.

The highest desire that one needs to have is verily attaining the holy feet of the Lord. The happiness derived from achieving this goal is eternal and is untainted without any sorrow. It is imperative that one needs dedication and steadfast faith to attain this highest goal in life.  One can attain the holy feet of the Lord through many paths but one needs to have dedication and full faith which are one of the pre-requisites of the path he embarks in be it Jnana Marga, Atma Vichara, Dhyana etc. However in the path of bhakti the one and only requirement is full-faith on the Lord.

Belief is Vishwasam. All people are optimist in the fact that they line up many activities in the future with the hope that they will be alive till then. Belief is not bound by reasoning.  Our Swamiji gives beautiful interpretation for three words belief, faith and trust.

A mother ordains her child to go to temple every day before going to school and the child implicitly obeys his mother’s orders verbatim. This is termed as belief.  An ailing devotee visits the divine sanctorum of a Mahatma, who blesses a fruit and gives it to that devotee. After par-taking that fruit the devotee is cured of the illness.  Another devotee witnessing this will surely seek Mahan’s help when he is in distress. This is trust. We say – blind faith. A devotee of the highest order will have staunch faith in Lord and that he will take care of him always. It is indeed that faith [Drida Vishwasam] that the Lord also expects in every devotee. The Lord will never let down the devotee.

Rasakan was a gem trader. He was a muslim and did not have any convictions to any faith. He lived in North India, and used to earn his living be selling precious gem to merchants.

One day he was passing by Mathura. He had lots of gems to sell that day and was knocking the door of all the merchants whom he knew in Mathura. To his sheer surprise, he was unable to spot any of his clients. As he was traversing through the streets in Mathura, he saw a big tent and thousands of people listening to a spiritual discourse with awe and reverence. Seeing the big crowd, Rasakan decided to pay a visit to the tent to see if he could spot his merchant friends in that crowd. As he had expected, he saw some of them listening to the lecture with rapt attention. He managed to find a seat next to one of his friends and slowly opened the gem box to get the attention of his friend. On seeing what Rasakan was doing, the friend politely replied that he would look at the gems a little later. Rasakan closed the gem box and spotted another friend sitting at another corner and so approached him and as he slowly opened the gem box, he got the same reply that he heard from his other friend.  So Rasakan was convinced that all his merchant friends were present there and so decided to talk to them once the discourse was over. While he was sitting there, he started to listen to the discourse. At that very moment, the person discoursing was elucidating Lord Krishna’s astonishing form –

“Barha Peetam Nata Vara Vapuhu Karnayo karnikaram
bibrathvaasah kanaka kapisham vaijyanthim cha malam” [Srimad Bhagavatham 10.21.5]

He was expounding on the beautiful countenance of the Lord, his cris-crossed legs, and peacock feather on his head, wearing a beautiful Pitambara and playing his flute.  Rasakan who just began to listen to the discourse on hearing the beautiful form of the Lord who was portrayed as a small boy, left all his valuable gems behind and went straight to the Pauranika who was expounding on the Lord’s divine glories. Rasakan concluded that the small boy was called Neela Balan.

thvayAdhya varNito bAlah shravaNAnanda vardanah |
kutrAsti vada me shIghram draShTumichchAmi tam shishum ||

Rasakan, who perceived the Lord to be a small boy [Neela Balan] coexisting with him, expressed his earnest desire to see him. He failed to realize that the small boy incarnated during the Dwapara Yuga. The Pauranika who was a Mahatma, understood Rasakan’s desire and asked him to go to Vrindavan. He advised him to look out for Neela Balan on the banks of river Yamuna or in the Govardhana Mountains where he normally goes to graze the cows.  Rasakan left all his valuable gems behind and immediately headed out in search of Neela Balan to Yamuna.

Unmatthavan mahotsAhah pradhAvan yamunAvane |
aprucchannikhilAn bhaktAn nIlabAlah kva vartate ||

He ran here and there in Brindavana like a mad man in search of Krishna.  After futile efforts to locate Neela Balan, a weary Rasakan reached Govardhan hills, the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Srinathji. Upon reaching the temple, Rasakan started to run atop the Govardhan hills. This was witnessed by Vittalanatha, the great Mahatma and descendent of Sri Vallabhadasji. When he tried to enter the temple was stopped by the guards as people other than Hindu clan were not allowed to enter the temple. He beseeched the guards to let him have the darshan of Neela Balan. Even though his request was denied, he continued to wander in the outskirts of the temple with a ray of hope that Neela Balan would step out sometime. A month passed and he waited to see Neela Balan without any food and his eyes were swollen. As days passed by, Vittalanatha once paid a visit to the temple. The guards on seeing Vittalanatha confided to him about Rasakan. He then approached Rasakan and on seeing him, he recollected who he was.

Rasakan on seeing Vittalanatha inundated by tears and holding on to the feet of Vittalanatha said –

nAhamichAmi sAmrAjyam nAhamichAmi jIvitam |
ichAmyaham kevalam tu srIkrUShNa mukhadarshaNam ||
tadvinA nishphalam janma nIlabAlasya darshanam |
kshipram darshaya gosvAmin na me shAntiriha prabho ||

 

Oh Swamin ”I don’t need anything in life. I want to see Neela Balan for a split second”.  As Rasakan was listening to the the Pauranika’s lecture, the Lord had entered Raskan’s body through his ears and kindled his steadfast faith and desire in him. The very desire in him to see the Lord led him to a Guru.

Vittalanaatha embraced Rasakan and assured him that he would see Neela Balan for sure. He took him inside the temple and bestowed him with the darshan of Lord Srinathji. The Lord gave darshan to Rasakan since he cried to have the darshan of Neela Balan.

Just like how a child cries to get what it wants, a devotee of the Lord should also know to cry loud to the Lord. That is verily enough for the Lord to bestow his darshan to that devotee.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

Oct 14: Sri Vallabhacharya and Kumbhandas

14 Oct

Srimad Bhagavatam says “Kalau Kalau bhavishyanti Narayana paraayanaah’ – the devotees of the Lord descend on the earth every so often, especially in the Kali Yuga, to show the path of Dharma – Bhagavata Dharma.  The Lord who is in His ‘Dhama’ – Vaikunta / Goloka, a place of ‘Nithya Leela Vibhuti’, the Lord loses the companion that He sends to Earth and hence cannot remain there.  So He descends down too!  If Our Guru Maharaj is incarnated in this Earth, then Premika Varadan also descends, primarily to enjoy the company of our Guru Maharaj, does he not?   Once such Avatara Purusha is Sri Vallabhacharya, who has expounded  Bhagavatam as an essence of Krishna Leela.  The Lord in Goloka asked Sri Vallabha to descend on the Earth to show the Dharma of ‘Pushti’ (grace) and consequently, Krishna also descended down, and the place he chose to do this was Sri Brindavana  on the beautiful Govardhana Giri that is extolled by Sage Sukha in Bhagavatam ‘hantAyam adrirabalA haridAsavaryo…’ and remained hidden until Sri Vallabhacharya discovered him in His entirety during a Bharata Pradakshina when the Lord Himself summoned him.  He was called ‘Dev Daman’ or ‘Indra Daman’ (who trounced the ego of Indra).  Today, he is called as Srinathji.  His form is that of a young boy standing, lifting up his left hand (as if lifting the Govardhana mountain) and with his right hand on his hips (as if signifying that he is completely at ease lifting the hill as mentiond by Sage Shuka – ‘dadhAra lIlayA krishNa chatrAkam iva bAlaka’).  Poojas in any temple are offered based on a set of rules from our scriptures – like the Sri Pancharatra in Sri Rangam and Sri Vaikhanasa in Tirupati. Likewise, Sri Vallabhacharya laid out the ways of Puja for Srinathji – as the way of love – He is worshiped like a crown prince – as our Guru Maharaj sings – ‘devAdi devah rAjAdi rAjah..’ and ‘sujana vinutah vallabha sulabah’.   Due to various invasions, Srinathji moved to a place in Rajasthan called Nathadwara after 100+ years  in Govardhan Giri.  Our Guru Maharaj, having visited Srinathji, fell in love with Him and has sung a beautiful kirtan “Srinathah, Mama Nathah…”.

Followed by quick introductions, Narayananji continued with his talk on Sri Vallabhacharya and Srinathji.

Once a person went to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and told him that he felt pity for the Sadhu because Sri Ramakrishna was missing out on so many beautiful things on earth, having embraced such an austere life.  Ramakrishna then wept bitterly and said, he indeed felt pity for the man.  When questioned, Sri Ramakrishna said that how on earth could anyone embrace worldliness, leaving the enchanting form of Radhakanta, and forgetting the beautiful form and leelas of the divine mother.  ‘How stupid of you all!’, he said!  That is how Mahatmas look at worldly life, because what they see and revel in is indeed the sweetest – ‘Krishna’.  If there is a Mahatma who sees not only Krishna to be sweet, but everything connected to Krishna to be ‘madhuram’ – it is Sri Vallabhacharya – ‘adharam madhuram, vadanam madhuram nayanam madhuram hasitam madhuram, hrudayam madhuram gamanam madhuram, madhurAdipate akhilam madhuram!’ – Krishna’s lips, face, eyes, gait, smile, heart – and everything connected with him are sweet!  Truly, Madhurachalam is Madhuram, Madhurapuri is Madhuram, Madhuri is Madhuram, Premika Varadan is Madhuram, His Smaranam is Madhuram, His Utsav is Madhuram, is it not!

Sri Vallabhacharya came from an Andhra family of scholars, his father being Sri Lakshmana Bhattar and mother being Illamma.  It is said that a family that does a 100 ‘Soma Yagas’ will be blessed with a divine child.  A ‘Vaideeka’, scholarly family that his was, they used to do Soma Yagas regularly.  Varanasi was the seat of knowledge, and hence the family relocated to Kashi.  They had a son Ramakrishna and two daughters Savithri and Saraswathi and now, Sri Lakshamana Bhattar’s wife was pregnant again.  The Mughal invasions was rampant those days (16th-17th Century)  and Hindus ran for their lives.  So Lakshmana Bhattar and his wife ran for their life from Kashi and came south.  When they reached Champakaranyam forest (in Madhya Pradesh), she went into labor in the dead of the night and delivered the baby there.  But the baby did not show any signs of being alive, and hence they concluded that the baby was born dead and left it there.  Only in their dreams they were told that this was indeed the blessed divine child that would be born after 100 Soma Yagas.  So the parents immediately rushed to the same site and saw the entire place surrounded by fire and a snake protecting the baby which was alive.  The mother rushed through the fire which gave way to her (like Yamuna gave way for Vasudeva) and rescued the little one.  They named the child ‘Vaishvanara’ (‘Agni Mukham’ – connoting the Prasadam of the fire worship) and also Sri Vallabha.

The child grew up to be a very intelligent boy and learnt all the scriptures very quickly. In his youth, he travelled to various places and defeated the learned men in each place.  He also earned the epithet ‘Bala Saraswathi’ because of his mastery of the scriptures.  He ventured to the Vijayanagara Empire in the South which was ruled by Krishnadeva Raya and earned the title ‘Jagadguru’ for his knowledge.  The King bathed him with gold coins which he humbly rejected.  He was forced to accept gold, and he eventually took 7 coins, for the Srinathji whom he would discover soon.

Sri Vallabhacharya established his philosophy of Shuddhadvaita and led a very simple life.  As ordained by Sri Panduranga of Pandaripuram, he was married to Akkamma Devi (Sri Mahalakshmi) and bore two sons – Gopinatha and Vittalanatha.  He went around the country twice on foot and wherever he went, he performed Bhagavata Saptaham – 84 different Baitaks across the country are considered holy even today.  When once he was in Jharkand, he had a divine call from Lord Krishna inviting him to Vraja Bhoomi.  When he rushed to Brindavana, the villagers told him of a Murthi of Krishna on the Govardhan Giriraj, who had manifested his hand and face alone.  Sri Vallabhacharya discovered the beautiful Murthi in its entirety and instantly fell in love with Him, embracing Him tight.  He was Devdaman / Srinathji who was installed in a small temple there and regular services were offered to Him.

Sri Vallabhacharya had primarily 4 disciples – Surdas the famous poet, Krishnadas, Kumbhandas and Paramanandadas, each one of them being a great Bhagavata.  As Madhurakavi Azhwar says ‘seyal nandraaga tiruthi pani kolvaan’ – a Guru transforms the disciple and puts him in God’s service.  Likewise, having discovered these gems of disciples, Sri Vallabha puts them in Srinathji’s seva. Kumbhandas is the first disciple he met.

Khumbandas was born in the outskirts of Sri Brindavan to a farmer, Bhagavandas.  He led a frugal and simple life, yet with sublime and elevated thoughts.  He was married but with no issues.  Having heard the story of Sri Vallabhachary a and the newly discovered Srinathji, his mind longed to go and have darshan.  So the couple set out and met Sri Vallabhacharya.  At that meeting, Kumbhandas was asked to sing a kirtan.  He sang a beautiful kirtan describing a special Bhava of Radha Devi in the ‘Maana Lila’ of the divine couple:

Saanjh ke saanche bole tihaare
Rajani anat jaage nadnandana aaye nipat savaare
aatur bhaye neel pat ode piyare basana bisaare
kumbhandas prabhu govardhan dhar baleji bachan pratipaare

Sri Vallabhacharya’s happiness knew no bounds, and immediately entrusted Kumbhandasji in Thakurji’s seva.

Thakurji’s seva was very grand – with a Mangala seva in the morning to wake Him up.  Then “Shringara Seva” when he would be dressed up, following which would be the Gwal Seva where He would get ready to herd the cows.  Then food would be offered for him – Rajbhog following which Krishna would take a short afternoon siesta at around Noon.  Waking him up after 3 hours would be the Uthapana Seva, following which is the Bhog Seva.  Returning from the forest, he would be given an Aarti Seva, following which would happen the Shayan – sleep. – totaling to 8 sevas everyday.  Even today, Kumbhandasji’s kirtans are sung during the Rajbhog Seva.

Kumbhandas was a farmer all through and owned a small piece of land.  Once, the ruler of Gwalior – Madhukar Shah, hearing about his glory, came to visit him.  When the king was waiting with his minister outside, he heard Kumbhandasji beckon his granddaughter to bring the seat (‘aasana’) and mirror to apply Gopi Chandan on the forehead.  The granddaughter replied that the seat was eaten up by a goat and the goat also drank the mirror!  The king was surprised on hearing this and turned to the minister.  The minister clarified that the seat was not a wooden plank but a bunch of dried grass and hence the goat devoured it; and the mirror was nothing but some water in an empty coconut shell.  Hearing this, Madhukar Shah was moved by his penury and wanted to offer him a gold laced wooden seat and a gem-studded mirror.  Kumbhandasji politely refused it.  When the king expressed his desire name the town after Kumbhandasji, the Bhagavata remarked that neither he nor the king had any power to create even a speck of sand, and hence had no right of ownership and names! ‘Every piece of land here bears the stamp of our Thakur –Srinathji’ said Kumbhandasji.  Such was his simplicity.

The fame of Kumbhandasji spread far and wide and Akbar came to know about his sweet devotional music and summoned him to his court.  At court, whilst everyone else would render songs in praise of the emperor, Kumbhandasji rendered his kirtans on Thakurji which pleasantly surprised the emperor.  However he wouldn’t take anything in return in spite of the king compelling him.  On one such visits, the king compelled him to ask for some gift and Kumbhandasji said, ‘Ok! Shahenshah! Let me ask for the gift but you should promise me to grant it no matter what!’.  When he got an affirmative answer from the king, he said, ‘My request is that please do not invite me anymore to the palace. It is disturbing my service to Thakurji!’

After a few years, when he realized that he was at the last stages of his life, Sri Vittalanatha was informed and he came to where Kumbhandasji lay, at the banks of the pond.  Vittalanatha kept his hands on the heart of Kumbhandas and said, ‘Oh dear Kumbhandas! What do you see now!’ and Kumbhandasji sang his last kirtan – which describes his darshan of the Lord with Swaminiji (Radha Devi) on a beautiful platform and the Lord teaching His consort to write something!

Rasika niras me rahat gadi
kanak beli vrushabaanu nandini shyaam tamaal chadi
viharat sri giridhar lal sangh keeje paat padi
Kumbhandas prabhu govardhan dhar rati rasa keli badi

After singing this Kirtan, Kumbandhas returned to Goloka.

He was the first of Srinathji’s Sevaks.  The four disciples of Sri Vallabhacharya, and the other four disciples of Vittalanatha – Govindadas, Nandadas, Cheedhaswami, Chaturbhujadas – these 8 Bhagavatas form the 8 ‘sakhas’ or friends of Srinathji.

Sri Vallabhacharya during his lifetime gave a beautiful commentary of Srimad Bhagavata – Subhodini.  It was not a commentary of all the 18000 slokas – it was rather the essence of the 10th Canto – like great mahatmas like Sri Madhusudhana Saraswati and Leela Suka, Sri Vallabha too enjoyed Krishna’s leelas – and His grace.  He has also expounded the first, second and a part of the 11th canto.

When Sri Vallabhacharya knew that his end was at sight, he took Apat Sanyasa and performed a Mauna Saptaha – where he would sit in the banks of the Ganges in silence and revel in the Leelas of Krishna heart of hearts.  On the seventh day, he wrote a few shlokas showing the way of worship of Srinathji and then entered the Ganges, and disappeared.  Everyone witnessed a streak of light from the Ganges going skyward.  Sri Vallabha returned to Goloka.

Jun 19: Guru – The Sorcerer’s Stone?

19 Jun

The Nama Sankirtan was led by Nainar Mohamed and family from Mountain View, California.
This was followed by a talk by Narayanan from Boston.

We have been starting our satsangs by talking about the glory of satsang over the past few weeks and hence I thought we will talk about that, today too.
In Srimad Ramayana we see people with different characteristics. One is Sugreeva who is terror stricken at the thought of his brother Vaali. His life is in danger as Vaali can kill him any moment and he hides to save himself. He had lost all his materialistic possessions [his share of the kingdom] On the other side of the spectrum is Ravana. He was one of the most learned person, adept in shastras and a very powerful ruler indeed. This is at the beginning of Ramayana. However at the end of Ramayana, we see that Sugreeva is the ruler of Kishkinda and he leads a happy life. On the other hand, Ravana dies a miserable death. The main difference to note is that Sugreeva had Hanuman has his pal and that bought all the fortune for him, whereas Ravana set fire to Hanuman’s tail, thereby insulting the Bhagavatottama. He got rid of all the satsangs that he had destroyed Vibishana’s kingdom. These acts verily lead to the downfall of Ravana. The company of Sadhus and taking a refuge in the holy feet of Sadguru and not insulting any Bhagavatottama will keep one happy in this life and beyond.

Then, who is a Guru?  Anyone who shows us the Lord is verily the Guru. There are many different Gurus illustrated in our scriptures.
It would be surprising to note that even Kamsa and Sukracharya were Gurus?  How?  It was Kamsa who showed the place of Lord Krishna to Akrura and created an opportunity for Akrura to meet Lord Krishna, although his intent was to slay Krishna.  That way, Kamsa becomes Akrura’s Guru.  During Vamana Avatara, when Lord Vamana comes to the place of King Bali’s sacrifice, Sukracharya, the preceptor of King Mahabali, warns the King ‘Hey Vairochana! this young lad is none other than Hari. Beware!’.  By showing the Lord to King Bali, Sukracharya becomes a Guru.

But who is a Uttama Guru?  Some say that the Uttama Guru is like a sorcerer’s stone.  A sorcerer’s stone is one that when brought into contact with any object turns that object into gold.  But Mahans beg to differ.  The object may turn into gold. However that very object cannot be used to turn other objects into gold.  Whereas in the case of a Uttama Guru, by a mere touch, a Uttama Guru can turn his disciples into Jnanis and the chain does not stop there.  The disciples can turn other disciples into Jnanis by their touch.  Now, do we see why a Uttama Guru cannot be compared to a sorcerrer’s stone?

There was a pious brahmin couple who lived in the state of Andhra Pradesh, whose family had been continuously doing ‘Soma Yaga’ (Soma Yaga is a particular sacrifice that has been advocated in our scriptures for all brahmin householders).  It was said that when he had completed a hundred soma yagas, the Lord Himself will be born to them.

This couple had shifted to Varanasi to earn their living, for he was a Vedic scholar and Varanasi was the seat of Vedic education during that time.  It was the time of Muslim invasions in India and often dacoits and looters came in horses and scared the lives out of the residents.  During one such attack, fearing for life, the couple moved into a forest.  The wife was bearing the aforesaid god-child in her womb as they made their way into the forest.  One night, in the middle of the forest, the wife gave birth to a beautiful boy.  There was no help to reach out to, and it is said that the animals and other natural forces verily guarded the child after it was born.   They named the child “Vaishvanara” (Vaishvanara is the name of Agni – the God of Fire, which was their primary deity worship).

Vaishvanara grew up to be a great scholar in his later life and came to be called by everyone as Sri Vallabhacharya.  Sri Vallabhacharya has written commentaries on the Upanishads and various other scriptures.  His commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam – called as “Subhodini” is till date, considered as one of the best commentaries of Srimad Bhagavatam till date.  He propounded the path of worship known as “Pushti Marg” and had temple establishments in various places, including Allahabad and Brindavan.

Krishnadas was one of the disciples of Sri Vallabha.  Sri Vallabha had appointed Krishnadas as the Manager of the Srinathji temple in Mathura he founded.  Sri Vallabha instructed Krishnadas that only the best of the best products be offered to the deity.  This, Krishnadas, took as the initiation of the Guru and followed it in word and spirit.  Even today, the betel leaves for the deity come from Vellore in Tamilnadu (which is known to produce the best betel leaves in the country), water from the Yamuna is brought to this place daily and saffron from Kashmir is flown to the temple on a daily basis!

Once Krishnadas was going on a horse carriage to Mathura to get groceries for the temple when he heard a melodious music coming from somewhere.  He was so much drawn to the music that he asked the carriage driver to halt. Later, he asked that the carriage be driven towards the source of the music and finally, he reached a place where a beautiful maiden was singing in a melodious voice and dancing in front of a few rich people.

Krishnadas sat mesmerized by the elegance of the maiden’s dance and the melody of her voice.  He felt there could not be a greater vocalist and dancer than her in the whole world.  He approached her after the dance and learned that her name was Ranjani.

He remembered his Guru’s instruction and told Ranjani, ‘Ranjani! will you dance in front of my Master?’

Ranjani immediately turned down Krishnadas’ request – ‘I don’t come outside to dance. Ask your Master to come here!’

‘My master wouldn’t come. But I assure you, you will be very satisfied after having danced in his presence.’

Ranjani, ‘Well!  Will your master pay me enough? I demand a large sum when I perform outside.’

‘Don’t every worry about it. My Master is extremely affluent. No one in this world is as rich as him, so much so that, the Goddess of wealth herself is at his feet!’

Ranjani said, ‘I don’t dance in front of oldaged people. Is your master handsome enough?’

Krishnadas said, ‘My master is the most handsome person on earth! He is like a million cupids put together, and he is ever a young man in his sweet-sixteen.’

Ranjani asked, ‘Is your master a rasika (conneisseur)? I will be really upset if my audience cannot appreciate and enjoy my music and dance and hence will not perform if he is not a rasika.’

Krishnadas immedately said, ‘My master is the greatest conneisseur of music and dance. He is ‘akhilakalaadi guru’ – the master of all arts!

Having convinced Ranjani, Krishnadas took her along with him to the temple.   When Ranjani asked him to take her to his master, Krishnadas pulled open the screen that kept the deity of Lord Krishna from her… and lo! Ranjani was speechless when she gazed at the divine beauty of the Lord.

She immediately started singing and dancing.  Her performance for the ‘Master’ was extra-ordinary that particular day and went on for a long time. With bhaava filled in her dance and music, her performance reached a cresendo. Eventually, as she finished her performance, in a lightning flash, she went into the sanctum and merged into Lord Krishna.

Within a single performance in front of the Lord, that very state that Mirabai had attained, by merging into the Lord of Dwaraka; that very state that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had attained by merging into Lord Jagannath of Puri, Ranjani had attained, inspite of the fact that Ranjani did not even perform a fraction of the devotion that the Mirabai and Mahaprabhu had performed all their lives! – The only reason being the fact that she was shown the Lord by Krishnadas, who as the disciple at the feet of the Uttama Guru Sri Vallabhacharya.

Vallabhacharya had many such disciples who have delivered so many souls by their mere presence and touch.

Poojya Poornimaji surprised the satsang by her presence and talked about the path of complete surrender to god. She is currently visiting Australia for satsangs.

We all have numerous questions that we want to have cleared when we have our Guru Maharaj’s darshan, don’t we? I happened to read a nice incident in the life of Bhagavan Ramana in this connection, which I am happy to share in this satsang.

Muruganaar is the disciple of Ramana who, today, is the person behind bringing out all of Bhagavan Ramana’s works to light.  Once, Muruganaar when in the presence of Bhagavan Ramana, put forth a bunch of questions to Bhagavan.  ‘How come I have so many doubts’, asked Muruganaar. Bhagavan replied that it was common to have doubts even if one is in the abode of the Sadguru and that is because of the fact that one has not reached the point of complete surrender.

In this context, Bhagavan Ramana narrates the story of Sanatkumaras.  This is slightly different from the one we find in Srimad Bhagavatam, but nevertheless, conveys the idea very well.

‘Once Sanatkumaras had numerous doubts which they wanted to get clarified. Firstly they reached Vaikunta, the abode of Vishnu. Seeing Vishnu along with His divine consort Lakshmi, they felt that being a householder, Vishnu would not be the right person to answer their questions.  So they moved on and decided to meet Lord Shiva to pose their questions.

Knowing beforehand that the Kumaras would turn Him down if he was with Goddess Parvati, Shiva took the form of a young man and penance under a banyan tree.  The Kumaras approached Dakshinamurthy and decided to stay there until their doubts were cleared.  They sat in front of Lord Dakshinamurthy and started firing their questions.  Patient as he was, Lord Dakshinamurthy answered their questions one by one, and this went on for about a year.  Although time passed by, there was no sign  of cessation of doubts and questions.  Sanatkumaras kept volleying their doubts.  A year passed and Lord Shiva decided, ‘There is not going to be an end for this. Let me go into meditation.’.  Thinking so, He went into deep meditation and enquiry.  This very dynamic silence created peace and bliss in the Sanatkumaras.!

When Bhagavan  Ramana completed the anecdote, Muruganaar looked extremely addled. He said, ‘But Bhagavan, I have never heard of a story that Lord Dakshinamurthy spoke volumes to Sanatkumaras! I have heard of Lord Dakshinamurty as a guru in silence always! This story sounds so new to me!’

Bhagavan Ramana smiled at Muruganaar and exclaimed, ‘True! It is not found in the Puranas, But that is what happened!’

Having narrated this incident from Bhagavan Ramana’s life, Poornimaji added,

The very silence of the Guru explains it all. ‘Gurostu Maunam Vyaakhyaanam’.  Seeing this in conjunction with the story in Srimad Bhagavatam reveals a very interesting fact…

What is the story in Bhagavatam?  The Sanatkumaras long to cherish and behold the beauty and bliss of the Almighty Lord Vishnu and reach the gates of Vaikunta.  At the entrance, they are stopped by the gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, and they are cursed. The story goes on…

Now, what do we see?  Initially, when the Sanatkuamaras saw Lord Vishnu, although He was the Lord Almighty, they saw Him only as a householder!

Then after they acquired the supreme knowledge at the feet of their Guru Lord Dakshinamurthy and have been recipients of the Guru’s grace they longed to behold the beauty and cherish the bliss of the same Lord Vishnu, whom they considered a mere householder earlier!

Without the grace of the Guru, even if you meet God face to face, you will not realize the grace and Glory of the Lord.  It is only with the Guru’s grace that you can realize God.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.