This series was originally published in Tamil MadhuraMurali monthly magazine in India, as a 12-part series. Based on Sri Swamiji’s Madhurageetham, “Govindanukku Aatpatta Kudumbamamma Engal Kudumbam”, it speaks beautifully of how the family members of our satsang lead/need to lead their lives.
This is the translation of the fifth article in this series. Click here for
Govindanukku Aatpatta Kudumbamamma… 5
(Family beholden to Govinda!)
(How will a satsang family be, that is the recipient of the Guru’s grace, that leads a life of servitude to Govinda, that lives in Bhagavata dharma; how will they live and how is their mental maturity? Let us now see the third verse of the sweet song (madhurageetham) that picturizes all of this.)
Satsangam means the basis is ‘shravanam’, ‘kirtanam’ and ‘smaranam’. It is this that our Guru Maharaj refers to in the verse
bhAgavatha kadhai kETTiDuvOm, rAgathALatthuDan pADiDuvOm
shOkamOga paDamATTOm, nAgarIgamAy pazhagiDuvOm
(We shall listen to Bhagavata Katha, we shall sing in tune and with rhythm
We shall not be sorrowful or infatuated, we shall move with others gracefully)
We, who are Govinda’s devotees, are indeed unique! We have immense desire to blissfully speak about Govinda always! Other spiritual sadhanas need to be done in solitude; in fact, getting together with others will even cause adverse effect to that sadhana. Can we practice dhyana, or atma vichara, or mantra japa in a large group? Or if we do like that, will we get the right fruit of the spiritual practice?
However Bhagavata dharma grows through satsangam (company of devotees). It is satsanga that nourishes it. Satsanga itself also gives Ananda (joy). Sri Andal also sings of this as ‘kUDiyirundhu kuLirnthElOr embAvAi’ (Let us celebrate Him together).
It is only bhakti that, instead of practicing all alone, gives joy when practiced along with other devotees. That’s why, we who serve Govinda:
kUDi kUDi pEsiDuvOm, ADippADi kaLitthiDuvOm – avan
aDiyArgaLai thEDi thEDi, ODi ODi paNindiDuvOm
(We shall get together and speak about Him, we shall dance and sing with joy,
We shall search again and again for His devotees, and happily run up and prostrate unto them!)
Where there is love, there a crowd will not feel like a burden. On the contrary, it will only enhance the joy. Do you know how such a satsang will be? “If there is someone to tell katha, we will all sit and happily listen; if there are those who listen to katha earnestly, we will tell katha like our Gurunathar says and enjoy it; if there is no one to tell or listen to katha, we will sing and dance kirtanam with cymbals in our hands and anklets on our feet.
For bhakti, singing and dancing are important aids. “vishNOr gAnancha nrityancha naTanancha visEshatah” – Bhakti shastras say that singing, dancing and abhinaya are special to Govinda who is Vishnu. In Srimad Bhagavatam also, Sri Kapilavasudeva Bhagavan celebrates such bhaktas.
madAshrayA kathA mrishTAha shruNvanti kathayanti cha |
tapanti vividhAstApA naitAnmadgatachEtasah || 23 ||
“My devotees will live to serve Me, have prema for Me, and they will get together and enjoy speaking about and listening to My sweet stories. Because of this itself, they will overcome all sorrows of life and think constantly of Me,” says Bhagavan with pride.
When it comes to such devotees, Bhagavan is very proud. In Bhagavad Gita also Krishna says,
macchitthA madgataprANA bOdhayantah parasparam |
kathayantascha mAm nityam tushyanti cha ramanti cha || 10:9 ||
“Holding Me in their chittam, taking Me to be their life, they will get together and speak about Me, and joyfully listen and speak of My stories always.”
While speaking of His glory (vibhuti), Govinda also speaks of the greatness of such devotees. Some learned people will call Nama kirtanam, bhajana, divyanama sankirtana as bhakti sadhana.
Once, in our Madhurapuri ashram, a blissful divyanama sankirtanam took place. After it was completed, Sri Swamiji was walking out. At that time, our Sadgurunatha said, “Some people will say that bhajana is bhakti sadhana. But if we see the bliss that it gives us, it doesn’t feel right to call it a ‘sadhana’. This is indeed anandam!?” he graced.
Yes! Speaking about Govinda is anandam! Listening about Him is anandam! If we chant His names and sing… aha! It is pErAnandam (great bliss) indeed! Our Sadgurunatha once said, “Perhaps it is the anandam that comes from His ‘pEr’ (Name) that is called ‘pErAnandam’!”
Hence this Madhurageetham beautifully says, “ADipADi kaLitthiDuvOm…” (we shall sing and dance joyfully!)
When bhakti is practiced as a sadhana, then it can be separated into two as sadhana and sadhyam.
Telling Govinda’s stories, listening to Govinda’s stories, doing Govinda nama sankirtanam, dancing gracefully in divyanama sankirtanam, at a particular time daily (whether we are involved or not), is the state of sadhana. When we keep doing this, with the grace of Sri Guru-Govinda, it will lead us to ‘sadhya’ bhakti!
Then, telling katha will also be blissful; listening to katha will also be blissful; bhajana will be immensely blissful (pErAnandam!). Sadhana bhakti itself will lead us to sadhya bhakti.
It is this that is spoken of in Srimad Bhagavatam, in the Navayogi Upadesam (11th canto, 3rd chapter)
smarantah smArayantascha mithOghoughaharam harim |
bhaktyA sanjAtayA bhaktyA bibhratyutpulakAm tanum ||
The yogeeshwara called Prabuddha says, “By thinking of Govinda, which destroys all sins, and makes one think more of Him, these devotees attain the state of sadhya bhakti from sadhana bhakti, and remain in the state of bliss that comes from bhakti!”
Our Sadgurunatha also beautifully, in this half a line, presents all of this completely – bhakti sadhana, the state of bhakti sadhya, and the bliss that comes from that state.-
“kUDi kUDi pEsiDuvOm, ADippADi kaLitthiDuvOm”
In this state, these devotees who are bhagavatas, yearn only for more and more satsangam. Shall we see that in the next episode?
The flower shall bloom further…
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