Govinda’s Family – Govindanukku Aatpatta Kudumbamamma 8

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 seventh article in this series. Click below links for the earlier episodes:
Part 1
Part 2 
Part 3 
Part 4 
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Love vs Attachment

Govindanukku Aatpatta Kudumbamamma #8

(Due to the fortune acquired over many births, we have received the great gift of leading our life in Bhagavata Dharma. Here is the next verse of the Madhurageetham that celebrates our fortune with awe…)

Just like we proudly celebrate our deity Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Krishna too proudly celebrates His devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam:

shilOncchavrityA paritushTachittO dharmam mahAntam virajam jushANah |
mayyarpitAtmA  gruha eva tishThan nAtiprasaktah samupaiti shAntim ||

We saw the meaning of this earlier.

Like Krishna celebrates His devotees, our Guru Maharaj also, because he is the head of all our families, celebrates the divine path of our family along with us.

It will not be an exaggeration if we say that the sweet words that came out of our Guru Maharaj’s heart are indeed the essence of the above words of Krishna.

These words of Krishna: “na atiprasaktah samupaiti shAntim”… the purport of this is indeed the next verse of this Madhurageetham.

pErAsai paDamATTOm, pAsatthilE vizhamATTOm  
nEsatthuDan thAmarai ilai thaNNIrai pOl vAzhndiDuvOm || gOvindanukku ||

(We shall not feel greedy; we shall not fall into attachment
We will live loving and unattached, like water on a lotus leaf)

If we hold this one sentence of our Sadgurunatha as our life’s guiding philosophy always, we will indeed have immense peace.

Desire (aasai) is different; love (nesam) is different. Even within desire, needs are different; greed (peraasai) is different.

Having been born as a human and living a family life, we cannot deny certain essential needs. We also cannot deny the necessity to take the effort to fulfill such needs. Desiring good for our children, thinking of a good future for them, are all reasonable desires. Greed is desiring for things beyond our need. We [as Govinda’s family] will not get caught in that net of greed. This is what Krishna speaks of as “nAti prasaktah”.

“What benefit do I have from him?” is desire; “How can I serve him?” … such an attitude is love (nesam), prema. 

In the name of love, we will not unnecessarily develop attachment to others and struggle. Without knowing limits getting overly caught in attachment is paasam; moving [with a person] within limits is love. Love will elevate us; attachment will pull us down. 

Living with the ego of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ is attachment. Living with the bhakti that “I am Govinda’s child”, “This family is Govinda’s family”, “This home is Govinda’s abode” … is love. Doing actions with the intent of getting joy just for ourselves and feeling sorrowful, is attachment; doing all deeds for the smile on Govinda’s (Guru’s) face is love. 

We will not live vehemently shunning paasam or attachment; nor will we run away from the world like a coward. Our Madhurageetham shows beautifully how we will live in the world. “thAmarai ilai thaNNIrai pOl vAzhndiDuvOm.” 

Generally the phrase “like water on a lotus leaf – thAmarai ilai thaNNIrai polE” is a widely used example to mean living without attachment. Because water does not stick to a lotus leaf. It will look like pearls on the leaf, but it won’t stick. That a person has to live like that in the world, without being attached, is the general meaning. But here, what depth there is in our Guru Maharaj’s words! He said, “pAsatthile vizhamATTOm” (we will not fall into attachment) did he not? When we see that, another beautiful meaning arises for “thAmarai ilai thaNNIrai pOl” (like the water on a lotus leaf), which is… how the water on the lotus leaf remains without falling into the pond that is below it!

Because these water droplets are on the lotus leaf, it will not mix with the water in the pond below it. The world is like the pond; Govinda’s satsanga is like the lotus leaf. It ensures that we do not fall into the pond of worldly attachment and protects us as the drops on the lotus leaf. Even though it is itself in the pond of the world, He says the lotus leaf of Guru-Govinda’s satsang floats on it and bears us—the droplets of water—on it, and protects us from falling into or mixing with the pond. 

Even if there are many droplets of water, they are not a burden for the leaf; and staying on the leaf is indeed a protection for the droplets. For those droplets of water, the lotus leaf is indeed the reason for its existence. The lotus leaf is also the only refuge for the droplets to keep from drowning in the pond. Just like these droplets remain peacefully without any other self-effort, wherever the lotus leaf keeps it, similarly remaining in servitude to Govinda alone, staying however He keeps us, considering His compassion as our only refuge, having attachment only to Him, without falling into the pond of worldly attachment… the beauty in the way He protects us on His own accord – this is what our Sadgurunathar shows here beautifully with a simple example. Isn’t this a wonderful verse?

(More shall follow verse by verse…) 

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