“Grace Me, On Your Own Accord”
– A Bhava of Bhagavata Dharma
When we think of the Guru, the word that comes to mind is Grace (krupa). That which comes without a cause is grace. And the person who bestows that causeless grace without any condition, out of His immense compassion, is a Guru.
Guru’s grace is no different from Bhagavan’s grace. A Guru’s nature is to constantly shower unconditional grace on all of us. And what is our true nature? Our nature is to constantly pray because we are dependent on Him. We just pray because that is all we know to do. However, we do not expect the grace to come as a result of the prayer. Grace comes on its own. There is no price for it, even as a prayer. This is Bhagavata dharma. And this is what Sri Swamiji, our Guru Maharaj, shows us when He uses the words ‘thaane’ or ‘svayameva’ (both meaning ‘on its own accord’) often in his compositions, especially when speaking of Bhagavan, Guru, and their grace.
“…guruvaruL ondrirundhAl mattradhellAm thAne varum” (If we have Guru’s grace, everything else will come on its own)
“Agaccha svayamEva mama hridayE…” (Please come on Your own into my heart…)
“nAma ruchiyai thArumaiyA, vAnara rAja simhamE vArum ayyA…. thAnAgavE enai vandu kAtthiDuvAy nIyE”(O Hanumanji, please come, and give me the taste for Nama…. Please come and protect me on Your own)
“sollAmalE solli kETkAmalE koDutthu… …thAnE thAnE Ana annilaiyai thAnE tharubavarAm gurunAthar” (A Guru gives us that highest state that he himself is in, on his own accord…)
Bhagavata dharma is a dharma of prayers. Our Sri Swamiji has a very unique way of praying; and he teaches us how to pray in that unique way.
Krupa is not compelled. We cannot do business with Bhagavan for krupa; not even through prayer. If we say that we got this krupa because we prayed, then it is tantamount to setting a means or a reason for the krupa that we know is causeless.
So wherever Sri Swamiji prays, he tells Bhagavan, grace me of Your own accord (thane, svayameva). I pray because I enjoy the sweetness of praying to You. Please do not think that I think that this prayer was the cause for You to come and grace me. Please come of Your own accord and grace me.
This is absolute humility. This is the state that Vritrasura speaks of when he prays “priyam priyEva vyushitam vishaNNA, mano aravindAksha didrukshatE tvAm” (O Lord, I yearn to simply see You, like a young wife – who has no worldly needs to be fulfilled – longs with immense love to just be with her Beloved husband). There is joy in the young wife’s yearning for her husband, and greater joy when he comes home to her, of his own accord.
So we pray to the Guru – grace me on your own accord.
How do we know we are the recipient of Guru krupa? When we somehow get into the path of chanting the divine name, then we know that krupa is being showered on us. We chant the Name (whether mechanically or with ruchi) only because of krupa, not just for krupa. Chanting the Name is the end. Krupa is the means.
Our dharma is to constantly recognize that rain of Guru krupa, feel the coolness of being drenched in it, feel grateful, secure, happy… and pray, and do whatever little sankalpa (desire) of Guru seva.
We cannot do Guru seva. Who are we to do such a thing! A Guru’s sankalpa (intention/desire) is alone is enough to accomplish dharma in this world. Swami Vivekananda has actually said that just a thought of a mahatma is enough to change anything in this world. Yet such mahatmas stay in this world, see people, give us opportunities to join the seva just like Sri Ramachandra Prabhu gave opportunities to the vanaras to do His kainkaryam of getting Sita Mata back (even though He was fully capable of doing it all by Himself).
The Guru’s one sankalpa can get everything done. So what do we do? Realize that if at all anything is happening through me, it is His grace. So what is my role?
Sant Santeshwara sings, Guru sevacha sankalpa, hechi mAjhE pUrna tapa (My entire penance is simply desiring to do Guru seva!)
Always praying to the Guru – please give me more kainkaryam, give me more seva. Feeling that I shall constantly spend my life doing guru kainkaryam. Desiring to do kainkaryam alone is what I can do. The actual seva is blessed by the Guru, done by the Guru’s grace, and completed only by divine grace – all on grace’s own accord.
So this is the essential bhava of Bhagavata dharma – feeling that I shall constantly pray to you, out of gratitude. I shall constantly wait for you. I shall constantly cry for you. I shall constantly yearn for you. I shall constantly desire to do your service. Like I constantly breathe. Because praying and yearning is my life. I don’t think that You come or bestow me with seva because of my prayer. Please come and grace me on your own accord. I know only Your grace, and nothing else, hence I shall keep praying, by Your grace…
Excerpted from Sri Ramanujamji’s discourse on Sri Swamiji’s Madhurageethams