This series chronicles interesting experiences recounted by the devotees of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. These articles are translations from the series, “Madhuramaana Mahaneeyar” that is published every month in Madhuramurali Tamil monthly magazine.
In the Company of a Realized Soul
Being always by the side of Sri Swamiji is a blissful experience. Sri Swamiji often says, “It is one thing to read about the life histories of the devotees who lived long ago but to actually live them is entirely different.”
In the life histories of devotees like Tukaram, Gora Kumhaar and Bhadrachala Ramadasa, it is evident that even their own spouses were unable to comprehend and handle their state. Once, a devotee confided to Bhagavan Yogiramsuratkumar that he wished to stay by Sri Yogiji’s side ever. “Heaven or hell, you be with me,” replied Yogiji meaning that sometimes it feels like heaven and at others, hell, but it is important to persevere.
As mahans are always in a state of bliss, people around them are unable to comprehend it. Once, when Sri Swamiji was reading Srimad Bhagavatam, I was next to him and so he beckoned to me and said, “Bhagavatam states that Sage Vyasa, considering the weak state of mind of the people in Kali yuga, divided the entire Vedas into four parts and taught each of them to his disciples so that each could nourish and flourish that one Veda. Likewise, he gave Suta’s father—Romaharshana—the responsibility of protecting the Itihasas and the Puranas. But interestingly, when Sage Saunaka and other rishis ask Suta Pauranika for a panacea for Kali Yuga, the latter, while expounding on Srimad Bhagavatam (a Purana), does not reveal it as one that he received from his father. He instead refers to it as the one that was narrated to Parikshith by Sri Suka and is equivalent to the Vedas.”
This shows us that Suta did not learn Srimad Bhagavatam from Romaharshana. Why? Just as a doted father would reserve the rarest and the most important mantra to be taught to his own son, Sri Veda Vyasa taught to his son, Sri Shuka, an enlightened soul, the rarest Srimad Bhagavatam, even though he gave all other Puranas to Romaharshana.”
Further, Sri Swamiji continued, “Srimad Bhagavatam can bestow liberation. Devotees aspiring for liberation must worship it.”
Expounding thus, he said, “We do not know what to ask from Bhagavan. And even if we did pray, we will only ask for some trifle. Yet the magnanimous Lord grants something monumental. Uttara, in order to protect her unborn son Parikshith in her womb, from the Brahmastram (a very destructive weapon), ran and surrendered to Lord Krishna and prayed, ‘Kindly save my baby from this death.’ Lord Krishna thought, ‘Uttara has surrendered to me and prayed. So the baby should never be affected by death anymore.’ That is why, in addition to protecting the fetus with his divine weapon, Sudarshana Chakra, he also ensured that later in life, Parikshith listened to Srimad Bhagavatam from Sri Suka and got liberated. He can die only if he was born again, is it not? If one is blessed with the association of Srimad Bhagavatam, it means Lord Gopala has bestowed His grace on him. Only because of grace, did Parikshith get Bhagavatam.”
“The holy river Ganges originates from the Lord’s feet. And from the devotees’ who meditate upon the Lord’s feet in their hearts, flows tears of joy. So isn’t it then correct to conclude that the water from the feet of such devotees is indeed as holy as river Ganges?” Sri Swamiji said as he shared his cherished insights on Srimad Bhagavatam.
Another time, I had a chance to accompany Sri Swamiji to a temple. The priest had misplaced the bell used in worship. It was getting late for the worship. He kept yelling, “Where is the mani (meaning bell in Tamil)? Where is the mani?” badgering people around him to find it. Sri Swamiji smiled and said jokingly, “He is the only one who accepts the truth. In this day and age, we use money (homophone of the Tamil mani) to do all worship.”
At that point, the worship was over and the priest was showing the aarati, a person next to us asked his family worriedly, “Where did you leave your footwear? Did you leave it in a safe place?” Sri Swamiji smiled and turned to me and said, “We meditate upon the holy sandals of our Guru. Likewise, this gentleman here is meditating on his own sandals!”
Original Tamil article by Dr.Bhagyanathan,
Madhuramurali September 2015. Translated by Viji Ramakrishnan, Dallas, TX