Infinite Ways to Infinite Bliss
In this section, we present excerpts from the discourses of His Holiness Sri Muralidhara Swamiji of Chennai, India. In commemoration of Sri Swamiji’s jayanthi, which falls on 29 October 2008, in this issue we present his philosophy and message to the world.
If we take a look at the world around us, we have a million reasons to be proud about. Have we not landed on the Moon? Have we not sent Pathfinder to Mars? There has been exponential progress in the realm of science.
Nevertheless, if we contemplate for a moment on the question ‘Have all these advancements made life happier and more peaceful than before? The answer is a quick and unambiguous ‘NO!’ If we were to assume that intellectual, cultural and scientific backwardness were the reasons for conflicts of cavemen and barbaric tribes, how do we explain the situation today?
In an age when we claim to be at the peak of intellectual and cultural refinement, violence and war are on the rise globally. We expect intellectual developments to nullify differences, wipe out boundaries and take us to universal brotherhood. On the contrary, more and more boundaries are being demarcated today. Instead of integration into one powerful, peaceful society, there is disintegration in the name of race, religion and language.
But how can we achieve integration? Down the ages, numerous thinkers, revolutionaries, leaders and organizations who have worked towards that goal have failed because they tried to bring about unity through changes in the external world and society. External transformation is not durable. Universal brotherhood and peace can never be brought about by power, force or scientific advancement.
The only solution is the inner transformation of every single person, and the only way to achieve this is through spirituality. To achieve this (spirituality), we need not change our lifestyle, travel elsewhere or renounce anything; we can go to work or school, live our usual life and yet bring about Universal Brotherhood. How is that possible?
Indian culture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world and it is globally acknowledged that our scriptures and great sages have accurately predicted the course of the world and future. Thousands of years ago, foreseeing the troubled times ahead, they have shown the remedy which is tailor-made for Kali yuga – Hari Nāma Sankirtan (Chanting the Names of the Lord). Why Hari Nāma? Because people of the Kali yuga are all in a hurry and lack time. So, Hari Nāma! This is a way shown by Mahāns (Saints) and not one sketched by our mind. The Divine Names of God are verily Mantra.
What is a Mahāmantra? Mahāmantra means one that will bestow moksha (salvation) and also all the trivial things of life, i.e., that which bestows everything – from employment, wealth, health, trouble-free life, peace of mind to moksha. Mahāmantra has been spoken of in the Kali Santarana Upanishad, one of the 108 Upanishads:
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare |
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ||
One need not chant the Mahāmantra deeming it to be the name of Rama or Krishna.
The mantra in itself is highly potent. What is the testimony for this? The chanting of the Mahāmantra has been going on in India and other parts of the world every day. The participants are verily the testimony for the potency of the Mahāmantra.
All Mahāns, right from Azhwars and Nayanmars have advocated Nāma sankirtan. Papa Ramdas, Yogi Ramsuratkumar, Tukaram, Namdev, Jnaneshwar, Swami Jnanananda, have all spoken about the glory of the Divine Name. Even Ramana Maharishi speaks of Nāma mahima in his Tamil composition Aksharamanamālai with the glory of the name ‘Arunachala’.
Human birth is a rare and wonderful birth. Should we not be grateful to the Lord for this? So, do Nāma sankirtan. If you are a person practicing yoga or Vedanta vichara or any other path, continue to do it but along with it also do Nāma sankirtan. All Mahāns have repeatedly cried out Nāma sankirtan’s glory. I do not ask any of you to give up anything to do this. You can remain in life and do Nāma Sankirtan. This is verily our way.