Infinite ways to Infinite Bliss
Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam, at the very outset says:
‘Chintaamanir-loka-sukham suradruhu swargasampadam;
prayacchati guruhu preeto Vaikuntam yogidurlabam’
— Chintamani bestows worldly desires; Kalpakavruksha even the comforts of heaven but Vaikuntam, rare even for Yogis, is attained by one who has earned the affection of the Guru!
There is a stone known as Chintamani. None knows where it can be found. It has the special power to fulfill the desire of one who holds it in his hand and makes a wish. But Saunaka Maharishi here says loka sukham (worldly desires). Holding Chintamani in your hand can you attain Krishna, if you so desire? No. You can only attain things of the world.
There is a tree called the Kalpakavruksha. If you sit below this tree and desire even heaven you will attain it. But if you desire Krishna while sitting under this tree, can you attain Him? No.
But Saunaka Maharishi says the abode of Lord Vishnu, which is rare even for the Yogis, is attained. By who? By one who has earned the Guru’s affection: prayacchati guruhu preeto.
Don’t the Upanishads speak of the glory of the Guru? Should he not have said “Take refuge in a Guru. Attain a Guru, serve him and earn his love. Do paada seva to the Guru, wash his clothes, eat Guru’s ucchishtam (left over food), receive upadesa from the Guru, have unflinching faith in the Guru, surrender to the Guru”?
Instead, the sloka reads differently. It does not speak of your love for the Guru; it speaks of the Guru’s love for you!
You may be the worst sinner, highly undisciplined; you may have committed all kinds of atrocities; yet, if a Mahan declares, “Oh, he is my child”, that would suffice for you to attain moksha! — prayacchati guruhu preeto Vaikuntam yogidurlabam.
We have an illusion that study of the shastras, of Vedanta and the performance of yagna, will lead us to moksha. But they will not. By such studies we are only trying to sharpen our brain and it does not come down to the heart.
In Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai, adjacent to Sri Ramana Maharshi’s samadhi you will find a samadhi for a deer called Valli. Did Valli study the shastras? Did she receive upadesa of Brahmavaakya? Prayacchati guruhu preeto—the deer had simply earned Bhagavan Ramana’s love.
There is a samadhi for a dog called Jackie in Ramanasramam. There is also a samadhi for a crow there. Have you ever found a samadhi for a crow anywhere? There is a samadhi for a cow called Lakshmi. Prayacchati guruhu preeto.
He has said “I have given moksha” when referring to all these blessed animals. Prayacchati guruhu preeto.
At Shirdi just as puja is done for the Shirdi Mahatma, so too is puja done to the samadhi of Shyamsundar, a horse. What is the reason? Prayacchati guruhu preeto.
At Aalandi there is a samadhi for a buffalo next to Sant Jnaneshwar’s samadhi and puja is done there too. Why? Prayacchati guruhu preeto.
When Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal (Maha Periyava) became the head of the Kanchi Mutt, there was an attendant who was very old. He sincerely served Maha Periyava. When he passed away, Maha Periyava fasted for ten days, did japa, gave all his tapas to him and sent him to a high loka. Maha Periyava told the Mutt people that he had attained moksha. Prayacchati guruhu preeto.
Once I was sitting with Yogi Ramsuratkumar in his Sannidhi street house and talking with him. He was sitting outside on the steps leading to the house. He was talking to me happily when suddenly he became serious. He went inside the house and kept walking up and down. He kept moving his hands and doing something. After half-an-hour he came out again and sat down. After 2-3 hours a telegram arrived. A devotee had passed away. Yogi Ramsuratkumar had known about it. Do you know what reply he asked to send? “He is safe!” Prayacchati guruhu preeto.
Somehow earn the pleasure of a Mahatma and get him to accept you as his devotee. If that Mahan considers you his bhakta it becomes his responsibility to take you ashore, doesn’t it? Hence Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam says at the very beginning, “Become a vessel for the Grace of such a Guru.”
On the auspicious occasion of Guru Poornima, which falls on July 25 this year, let us pray that we should simply become a vessel for our Guru’s Grace and that we should do His bidding at all times, thus pleasing Him and earning His love.