Highlights from this discourse:
Sri Rama releases Ahalya from her curse and the greatness of Rama Nama. As Sri Swamiji speaks of this, he shares more nectarine insights:
– Who can bind Bhagavan (and who cannot)? – what do Bhagavatam and Mahabharata show in this context?
– How the Indian state of Haryana got its name
– Circumambulating each of these three is equivalent to circumambulating the entire earth.
– Contrast between Bhagavatam and Mahabharata – Drupada & Drona vs. Krishna & Kuchela
– Why does Sri Vyasa narrate the incident of the bathing women circumambulating Sri Shuka right in the beginning of Bhagavatam? To show the greatness of the pure jnani Sri Shuka, who is going to narrate the pristine and pure Rasa leela.
– How a speaker would feel when he is looking forward to making an interesting point during his talk
– One should not let go of rasika hridaya in the name of vairagya
– Why is the story of Ahalya spoken of in Ramayana? To show how Sri Rama is compassionate towards His devotees, while it comes to Himself (as in the case of Sita matha’s agni pravesha) He is very strict.
– Ganga’s purity and divinity; and scientific proof of that as well as of the historicity of Ramayana itself (Rama sethu satellite images, etc.)
– What is saanidhyam or divinity in a temple? How can it be enhanced and sustained?
– Foreign nations might have developed arms and ammunition, some nations might have developed due to affluence, but when someone wants peace they come only to India. India is the country where the flag of spirituality flies high.
– Kambar’s lovely narration of the episode of Ahalya’s emancipation by Sri Rama
– Bhagavan Nama Bodhendral’s charitram
– Why one should never commit suicide!
– The greatness of Rama Nama
– What can Nama not do? If you firmly believe something is impossible for you, even that can be successfully attained by Nama, provided you are ready to chant Nama consistently without laziness.
– When Mahendranath Gupta (M.) once told his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa that he could not believe in the worship of God in archavatara, what did Sri Ramakrishna say?
Read the translated transcript of the entire discourse below.
Listen to this Bala Kandam Episode 17 discourse (Tamil with English subtitles) on Global Organisation for Divinity Facebook page:
Complete transcript of Sri Swamiji’s live online Srimad Ramayana discourse – Bala Kandam Episode #17
Among the avataras of Bhagavan, who is Shriyapathi, Rama avatara and Krishna avatara are avataras that remained on earth for many years, and through which Bhagavan graced us immensely. Among these two avataras, Rama avatara was taken to establish sAmAnya dharma in the world and to set an example by living those values.
In that avatara, Rama who came with Vishwamitra for the purpose of protecting his yagna, after the yagna protection was completed, left again with Vishwamitra and is now going towards Mithila. Itihasas and Puranas are all amazing. If someone buys an old palace that once belonged to a king, he might suddenly come upon gold coins or some treasure hidden somewhere. Likewise, we can look at these Itihasas and Puranas through different lenses.
In Bhagavatam it is said, that great Bhagavan, the One whom we call Krishna, is “pUrNam brahma sanAtanam.” That Parabrahmam has only come by taking a name and form. It is only that Parabrahmam, which has taken a name and form, that is called Krishna. That great Paramatma was tied to a mortar by Yashoda. That Bhagavan tied Himself to a mortar. In Krishna Karnamrutam, Sri Leela Suka says You are searching for the Parabrahmam who is the Upanishad artham (end of the Upanishads), You are trying to attain that end through the philosophy of ‘nEti nEti’… where is that end of the Upanishads? “ulUkalE nibaddham,” he (Sri Leela Suka) said. “That Upanishad artham has got caught in a mortar! Everyone come quickly and see! It is bound to a mortar!” he says. We see that Sri Shuka himself says, in Bhagavatam, “That which has no inside or outside, That which has no beginning or end or middle, such a Paramatma has bound Himself!” Such a great Bhagavan was tied to a mortar by his mother, Yashoda. This is Bhagavatam.
If we go to Mahabharata, Bhagavan comes as a messenger to try and stop the war. The way Bhagavan comes as a messenger is indeed beautiful. In Mahabharata, the description of Bhagavan coming as a messenger is lovely. He stays here and there in different places. Performs rituals in different kshetras, does dAna, dharma, etc. while enroute as a messenger.
There are many states in India. One state is called Haryana. Ayana means way or path. How did that state get that name? Because it is the path that Hari walked. When did Hari go on that path? When He went as a messenger (of the Pandavas to Hastinapura), this is the path that He walked. So that state itself got the name Haryana. When we say He ‘walked’, He went in a chariot. We mean it is the path that He took. It is called Haryana.
When Bhagavan goes to Duryodhana’s sabha, out of fear Duryodhana tries to bind Krishna. He has kept some thugs there for that purpose. When they tried to tie Bhagavan down, He took the Viswarupa, threatened everybody and left the place. If you want to see how that Viswarupam was, you can go to Kanchipuram and have darshan of the Perumal called Pandavadhoothan. There we can see the Viswarupam form of Bhagavan which he took at the time of being a messenger in Duryodhana’s sabha. He bound Himself to Yashoda. Duryodhana could not bind Him. This is Bhagavatam. That is Mahabharata. What is He trying to show? Duryodhana tried to bind Him with authority, ego, position… he could not. Yashoda tried to bind Him with prema (love). He allowed Himself to be bound. So if you want to catch hold of Bhagavan, He will fall for love, for a selfless love.
Sri Sri Anna says, “svArthalEsha rahita gopi prema yatra vartatE” Even if there is an iota of selfishness, Bhagavan will not come. He says ‘svArtha-lEsha’. That selflessness. Such a bhakti! Bhagavan falls only for such bhakti. He allowed Himself to be bound by Yashoda. He does not come under the control of those who try to catch Bhagavan through authority or ego. This is what is shown by Bhagavatam and Mahabharata.
Drupada and Drona studied at the same school and were very thick friends. Each of them were so close to each other that they never wanted to part away from the other in their childhood. Years later when Drupada became a king, and when Drona wasn’t able to feed his son with milk and came to Drupada asking for a cow, Drupada insulted Drona and sent him back. This is Mahabharata. When a poverty-stricken brahmana Kuchela who studied with Krishna in Sandeepani Gurukala came to Krishna, Bhagavan came running to Kuchela, hugged him, invited him inside, made him sit on his asana (seat), washed his feet with water, fed him through Rukmini’s hands, ate the flattened rice that Kuchela brought offered, and made him equal to Kubera. Look at how Bhagavan acted when compared to how Drupada acted.
A man will talk a lot but he will forget it. He will forget everything. When he is a child he will talk something, in his youth he will talk something else, before he starts earning he will talk something, before he gets a position he talks something. After he gets all of these, whatever he talked about will disappear in thin air. After that, his position and his wealth will be his top priority. Even for a person who consumes alcohol, he will lack clarity only as long as he is drunk. But a person who has position and money will always lack clarity. The addiction that comes from position and money is even worse than the addiction that comes from drinking. How did Drupada act with Drona? Similarly, look at how Krishna was with Kuchela? We see the difference between Mahabharata and Bhagavatam.
Similarly, Arjuna comes searching for Krishna, as well as Duryodhana comes searching for Krishna. Krishna tells them both, I’ll come, but not my army!” Duryodhana tells Krishna, “Who wants you, but give me your army!” But Arjuna replies, “I want you Krishna but not your army!” What philosophy can be seen here? Bhagavan places a question in front of us. “Do you want this world with the pleasures that I have created or do you want Me?” I have created so many things for enjoyment. Do you want all those or do you want Me?” “I won’t take any weapon and I won’t do anything, I’ll only sit in your heart as Atma Rama. Do you want that? I won’t do anything but I will be just as a witness.” Arjuna being a maha bhakta, he said, “Bhagavan is enough!” A person who is interested in materialistic pleasures will say, “Who needs Bhagavan, I only want those materialistic pleasures given by him” – such people are those who do kAmya bhakti. That’s the philosophy that can be seen here.
Like this, if we look at our Itihasas and Puranas intently, we will understand the things explained there. In Srimad Bhagavatam, Vyasacharya’s son is Shuka Brahmam. They were walking along. Shuka, who is an ayOnija (not born from the womb), was walking without wearing any clothes. As he was walking in that state, there was a pond on the way… and in that pond there were many women taking bath, and their clothes were also in disarray. When they saw Shuka Brahmam passing by, they came running, circumambulated him and prostrated before him. They didn’t mind that he wasn’t wearing any clothes nor were they concerned about how they were dressed as well. Let this be there. Why did they come running to him in haste? What is the reason? The reason being if we circumambulate a jivanmukta like Shuka even once, it is equivalent to going around the earth. Will we ever get this?
When a cow is giving birth, sometimes the calf’s legs will come outside first and sometimes the calf’s head will come outside first. When the calf’s head comes outside first, we can say that the cow has a head on both sides, so at that instant if you circumambulate the cow and the calf and prostrate we get the fruit of circumambulating the entire earth. And also whatever kshetras and tirthas are there in India, and whatever temples are there, whichever mahans are there… That’s why circumambulating a jivanmukta is equivalent to circumambulating the earth… When a cow is giving birth, and if it is a female calf and if that calf’s head is coming out first, circumambulating and prostrating them is equivalent to getting the benefit of circumambulating the earth… Thirdly, when bhagavatas do divya nama sankirtana, and when they invite Bhagavan in a deepa (lamp), and do a circumambulation, each and every circumambulation is equivalent to circumambulating the earth. It is said to give the fruit of circumambulating the earth. Because Bhagavan has only come, right? The entire universe is within Bhagavan only, right? By circumambulating Bhagavan who holds the entire universe in his womb, it is said to give the fruit of circumambulating the earth.
Like this, Shuka Brahmam is walking without clothes, women bathing in the pond came running to him and prostrating before him. Vyasacharya was following Shuka Brahmam. He was very old. His hair had turned gray, his cheeks had started sagging, and while he was walking the same path with great difficulty, on seeing him, all these women became conscious and started adjusting their clothes because of shyness. This brought a question in Vyasa. “My son walked in the front without any clothes… He is a youth…” “You all came to see him, wearing your clothes haphazardly, and prostrated and went.” “After you saw me, you fixed your clothes. What is the reason?” asked Vyasa. This incident comes as a shloka in Bhagavatam.
Sage Vyasa was clothed. And he was following his son. (Seeing him) Feeling shy, the ladies adjusted their clothing. But they did not do so when his son passed by. Which is amazing!
Immediately, Sage Vyasa questioned them about it. The women replied, “When we see you, the thought that you are a man and that we are women, arises. But what is astonishing is, when we see your son, the thought that we are women and that he is a man does not arise at all. Why? Because a jnani who is a jivan muktha sees no difference in gender.
In Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva is described as neither male nor female nor transgender. For a jnani, where does the question of gender come from? For Parabrahma, where is the question of gender? So, on seeing such a jivanmukta – since the differentiation of male and female is only related to the body -such thoughts related to the body do not arise in them.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at times would hold a chAmara happily in his hand and fan Devi (Goddess Kali). At that time, Mathur (Babu) would come in search of Ramakrishna. At that time, everyone around would point to Sri Ramakrishna and, Mathur would reply, “No, the person appears to be a lady.” People who have seen Sri Ramakrishna when he was in Devi Bhava have said so. Whatever bhava they are in, they will appear like that. So, that is how a jnani who is a jivanmukta is. So, now in Bhagavatam, Sri Vyasacharya mentions this incident right in the beginning. On reading this, the point is not to laugh or to comment that they were able to see the distinction of man-woman when they saw Sri Vyasa himself.
Mahans neither utter nor write nor say anything unnecessarily. Those who do Bhagavata Parayanam will know that. When Shaunaka rishis question, they say, “Please do not reply just because we have asked. If the reply to any of our questions may result in extolling Bhagavan, then please answer. Because we should not waste our time on things not related to Bhagavan. Time is gold.” Therefore this incident has not been mentioned unnecessarily. Why has he mentioned this is because, later in Bhagavatam, in the 10th canto, in the first half of 49 chapters, the maximum number of chapters, five chapters, is for describing Rasa leela. Even Govinda Pattabhishekam has only 4 chapters. Bhagavan’s avatar is described in the 3rd chapter itself. Similarly, the blessing bestowed to Yagnya patnis is described in just 1 chapter. Kaliya Nardhana is described in just 2 chapters. Thus, if we look at it like this, out of the approximately 50 chapters, 5 chapters are dedicated to Rasa leela alone. In that Rasa leela, in the center, we have Gopika Geetham. Pranaya Geetham too, comes in that. The surprising fact is, out of the 5 geethams that we recite everyday, 2 of them come in Rasa Panchadhyayi. Sri Shukacharya is going to describe the 5 chapters of Rasa Panchadhyayi.
He starts it by saying, “bhagavAn api tA rAtri”… We can go on doing commentary for “tA rAtri” Bhagavan promised Gopis that He would bestow his grace on them in one night.”tA rAtri ”. That night is here. That night, when the stars, planets, moon and the sun in the sky stood transfixed forgetting their movement. It was that night! “bhagavAn api tA rAtri ” To cite another explanation, Sri Shuka who has been expounding Srimad Bhagavatham, was eagerly awaiting (to narrate about) the night when Bhagavan did Rasa Leela.
A speaker, if he is a great devotee as well, would have kept some interesting points in mind to mention in the talk. They will feel, when will this point come? How will rasikas listening to it enjoy it? How will they nod their heads? This gives them joy! If the thought that they are going to be discussing an interesting point arises, they will then wait in anticipation to talk about it. A good cook should serve his dishes to one who relishes his food and eats well. If it is served to a person who is ill, he will just play with his food like a carrom board. Then the cook would be frustrated.
Similarly, one knows to play the veena has to play it in front of a rasika. Otherwise, a layman may comment, “Why are you just pulling some strings and making a noise?” That is why a bhakta who wants to narrate should get an appropriate listener. One who nods his head and enjoys the discourse and eagerly asks for more and more. For such a listener, he would describe several wonderful topics with tremendous outpouring of various bhAvAs, isn’t it? so, Shuka Brahmam himself, anticipating the night to narrate Rasa leela to Parikshit, starts with great joy, saying, “that night has come”.
Which night? “That night, about which I was eagerly waiting to tell you, Parikshit,” “bhagavAn api tA rAtri sharadutpulla mallikAm,” he starts. So this Rasa panchadhyayi is not a kama leela but a prema leela. What is the evidence for this? That Shuka Brahmam, on seeing whom the women who were bathing, despite him being unclothed, were not disturbed by the man-woman distinction! That Sri Shuka, would never narrate this if this had been a kama lila! This is Prema leela! Why?
When we talk about bhakti, what do we say? Jnana without vairagya is futile. One may listen all about Vedanta, may even explain the Brahma Sutras bhashya, Dasopanishad bhashya, Bhagavad Gita bhashya, may be even unparalleled in talking about Vedanta, but if he lacks vairagya, all that he studied would yield no result. Likewise, while doing pooja, if one wonders – is God there or not, is skeptical or has no belief in the existence of God or doesn’t care whether there is God or not, such a pooja is a mere zero and yields no fruits. Bhakti without faith is fruitless. A person may practice religious austerities, but without following the prescribed rules, no fruits can be earned. Bhakti with no faith, karma without austerities, likewise, jnana without vairagya; and if I’m narrating a Purana, if I tell it without believing that Rama and Krishna existed, it will have no benefit for the ones listening to the Purana. It will have no benefit for the ones listening to the Purana. The person expounding a Purana must have such devotion towards the deity of the Purana. It is that devotion that has filled his heart, that should flow out and fall as words as in ‘tvan mukhAmbhOja chyutam harikathAmrutam’ Only then it would enter the listener’s heart through his ears. So that is only very important. Else, it is of no use.
Likewise, talking so much about vairagya, one should not let go of rasika hrdayam in bhakti, and neither should it turn into hatred towards anyone. Love should not turn into lust. Just like how love should not become lust and vairagya should not exhaust our rasika hridaya, bhakti should also not become a pretense exhibiting feelings of horripilation, tears in eyes, chanting nama when others are watching. Such things would only derail our devotion. It will not help our devotion to grow. So what is being told in this Purana is, merely on seeing Shuka Brahmam, the women transcend the distinction of man or woman… when Shuka Brahmam who is in such a state is narrating Rasa leela, it is not like what we normally think. But to understand that it is something very supreme. It is to show that this is mentioned.
The reason I’m telling this prelude is, in Ramayana, there are no sub-stories (upakatha). But in Mahabharata, there are so many stories in Shanti Parva. Here and there, there will be several short stories. There is a short abridged Ramayana in Mahabharata. There is a short abridged story of Satyavan Savitri in Mahabharata. There is Nala Damayanti story in Mahabharata. There is Dushyanta’s charithram and so many other stories in Mahabharata. In Bhagavatam too, there are stories of several kings in the ninth canto. But in Ramayana, there is no such upakatha.
Starting from Ayodhya, Kosala Kingdom, he expounds only on the story of Rama. Thus, while narrating exclusively the story of Rama, the only substory that we find is, the story of Ahalya’s sApa vimochana. Starting with Gautama’s charithra, he is going to narrate the story of Ahalya. What is the need to narrate the story of Ahalya here? We need to observe something here. While there is no upakatha in Ramayana, why does he deliberately bring this story up here? It is because later when Rama brings Sita back from Ashokavana, he asks Sita to enter into the fire.
To prove that Sita is pure, Hanuman is a witness, Vibheeshana is a witness, why, Ravana too is a witness, the mind and God as well. But, Rama asks the supreme Sita to enter into the fire. But here, in the case of Ahalya who actually committed a mistake, Rama purifies her simply by the dust of His feet. The Lord, the dust from whose feet, even without his sankalpa, was carried by the air, touched the stone and redeemed Ahalya, such a Lord is asking Sita to do agni pravesha. He is the one who uplifts the fallen! He is capable. Yet, as compassionate as he is towards others, when it comes to his own matters, he is very strict and tough. It is to show this fact, that these two incidents are placed. He observes strict austerities on issues concerning himself, but is full of compassion on issues related to others, is what is seen here.
What do all Mahans usually say? They tell their disciples, “All of you do not need to do any meditation.” “I have done all the meditation needed, for you too.” “You just do service and that is enough.” That’s what they say. Because, all the penance that a Guru did, is for the disciples. Just like how the father’s wealth is for the son. What would he do? The penance that he got, by wandering through the streets in sunny and rainy days, whether he gets food or not… he takes all the beating, scolding, etc. and gives that penance to us with so much compassion. How are we related to him? What have we done for him? That is compassion. That is why, even though Rama has numerous names, “raghupathy rAghava rAjA rAm patIta pAvana sItA rAm” Mahatma Gandhi was singing always right? That patIta pAvanA. Isn’t Rama such a patIta pAvanA?
Today the story of Ahalya’s relief from the curse is coming up. That is why I stated this introduction. So, he asked about the story of Ganga. Among all the seven holy rivers flowing through India, Ganga is the greatest. The river of wisdom. Haridwaar, Rishikesh, Kashi, Allahabad are the holy places where Ganga can be seen. Mother Ganga. All Indian citizens have so much devotion towards Ganga. In India, from the sea in the south to the Himalayas in the north, whichever state or city one is born in, everyone has one desire. “Won’t I ever get one chance in this life to take a dip in Ganga?”
If one thinks so, how divine is that Ganga! Every single person who lives in this Bharata desha understands how divine Ganga Devi is, till today. We saw that Ganga came from the world of Devas to this earth. Bhageeratha brought Ganga (to earth) with so much effort. She is called Ganga as it touched the earth – Gau. Because she came out of the ear of Jahnu maharishi, she is called Jahnavi. Because she fell on Lord Shiva’s hair, she is Alakananda. Because Bhageeratha brought her here, she is Bhageerathi. When flowing in heaven, she is Vishnupadi. When she is on earth, she is Mandakini. She is flowing with so many names. So what is the proper translation for her name in Tamil? “Vaan nadhi.” There is a publication named Vaanadhi. The meaning of that is Ganga. The river that used to flow in the sky (vAn) is now flowing on earth. That is Ganga. That river Ganga is so pure. It is not a normal river flowing on earth. And this can be proven.
Because if people keep questioning, “Is the bridge built by Rama in existence?” Today, with scientific advancements, if we see via satellite, we can clearly see the bridge. It cannot be refuted, can it? The stones thrown by Nala (the vanara) are still found near Rameshwaram. Even today, if you throw it in water, it floats. Government has banned bringing the stones from there. But those stones can be found even today. It is astonishing. If you throw that stone in water, it floats. A stone thrown is floating. Satellite is showing the image as it is. Sethu, the bridge, can be seen with our eyes! When all this is seen, how can one doubt that what is said in the Puranas and Itihasas actually happened? We get all this evidence today.
Similarly, Ganga is not an ordinary river that flows through the earth. We can prove that she was a river that flowed through the heavens. How? Whenever one goes to Ganga, from any region, after taking a dip there, they fill up a little container with Ganga water. They bring it back sealed and keep it in the pooja at home. Some people keep it after performing a samArAdhanA. Some keep it in the pooja room. Some do pooja to it too. When someone is at the cusp of death, they pour this water into their mouth. This happens even today. Now Ganga river has been cleaned.
When I went to take a dip in Ganga 20-25 years ago, all the sewage used to drain into it. All kinds of waste and sewage would flow into it. The city of Varanasi was called so, since it is at the confluence of two rivers named Vara and Asi. So much sewage and so much impurities flow into that Ganga. We bring that Ganga river in a little container sealed and keep at home. 5 months or 6 months; 5 years or 6 years later, when we break the seal there is no trace of any germ or sediment. This despite so much pollution. We see so much sedimentation at the bottom when we store corporation water for two days. We see microorganisms forming in it.
So how is Ganga so pure? More than Ganga in Kasi, the Ganga in Haridwaar and Rishikesh will be like spatika. If we go to Uthar Kashi it will be like a spatika. If we go to the source of Ganga (Gangothpatthi) and see, it cannot be figured out as to where Ganga Devi comes from. Parameshwara is Gangadhar, isn’t He? Vishwanatha. Mother Ganga flows rapidly from Parameshwara’s head. If one just reminisces the story of Ganga, even thinks of Ganga, all sins wash away.
Sometimes, some people bring food to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. If they had earned the wealth by wrongful means and bought the ingredients for the meal, the reactions in his body after eating the food would showcase it. Immediately, as a prayaschitta, he would go to Ganga and drink Ganga tirtha. When someone touches him, maybe due to their sins, which get reflected in his body, he will wash the area only with the water of Ganga. Sri Ramakrishna had great devotion towards Ganga and reverentially would call her “Ganga, Ganga!” Such is the lofty history of Ganga Matha. By listening to her story, we become purified. All our sins are washed away. We earn merits. Those who listen to this story ensure that their ancestors are all liberated.
Rama listened to the holy story of Ganga. After listening to the story of Ganga, he notices a city named Vishala. This city looked like heaven. It had many trees, many creepers and plants, grand roads, many gardens, and resembled the city of Amaravathi (in heaven). The city of Vishala was equal to it. As Rama followed Bhagavata Dharma as well, he loved to listen to stories. shruNvanti, gruNanti, gAyanti. He looks at Sage Vishwamitra and says, “This city is so beautiful!” “It has many creepers and plants, parks, gardens, well laid roads, lovely houses, and resembles the heavenly abode of Indra.” “What is the story behind this city?” Rama asks.
Sage Vishwamitra starts to narrate. Bala Kandam has already briefly mentioned the story of Bali and Vamana Avatar. In a succinct way, it describes how Lord Vamana visited the yagashala of Bali and obtained dAna. Because that happened in SiddhAshrama. It was in Siddhashrama that Kashyapa and Aditi performed penance and it is where Vamana murthy also came later performed penance. Similarly, in this place in Ramayana, Amrutha Mathanam is told as a summary. During Amrutha Mathanam, because the Devas consumed the nectar, the Asuras were vanquished. As the Asuras were destroyed, their mother Diti was distraught. She informs her husband Sage Kashyapa that Indra should be destroyed. She should beget a child that destroys Indra. She prays thus and then performs penance for 1000 years. Indra takes a different form and deceitfully offers to serve her. Her penance has only 10 days left for completion. As some of the rules of the vratha were broken during this time, her foetus is harmed and Indra cuts it into 7 parts. These 7 parts are the 7 Maruts who exist till date. This is the kshetra where Indra deceitfully served Diti. And hence the city is named Vishala.
Vishwamitra continued, “After Indra left this place, it was ruled by a lineage of kings. Listen as I narrate their story of their lineage. They are also the descendants of Ikshvaku.” As we see later in Ramayana, when Rama is ruling as the king, one of Rama’s brothers go and rule over the city of Mathura. Like that these kings also belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty. Rama will mention later, while Vali was slayed, that his ancestor Manu ruled the entire world. Hence you (Vali) and Kishkindha also belong to us only. So King Ikshvaku was there. He was followed by Vishala, then Suchandra, Hemachandra, Dhumrashrava, Srinjaya, Sahadeva, Kushaswa, Somadatta, Kakutstha, Sumati. The current king is Sumati. He is the one governing the kingdom now.
As Vishwamitra was narrating the story and mentioning about King Sumati, that King Sumati hurries to receive them, hearing the news of their arrival. He worships Sage Vishwamitra and welcomes him, enquires about Rama and Lakshmana. The king gives them due respect, has a conversation with them and returns to his kingdom. Sage Vishwamitra continues on the journey with Rama and Lakshamana. They notice an ashram on the way. A building does not constitute an ashram. Just because a building is big does not make it an ashram. People refer to some temples as manifested with divinity. How do we qualify this manifestation of divinity? The temple has been built with gold, floors are made of granite, separate queues are maintained for men and women, prasad is provided, a small packet is given to stop spillage of vibhuti/kumkum. Everything is clean and tidy. Then all we should say is that the temple is clean. We cannot say that it is filled with divinity (sAnnidhyam). Divinity is different. Cleanliness is different. Divine presence refers to the archAvatAram Perumal’s revelation of its divine presence.
When reading the life-history of Sri Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna says, vizhippaDainda Devi’ (Devi who is awake). When we visit temples like that, prayers will be answered. The reason for a temple to grow and flourish and for a temple to become dilapidated due to lack of maintenance is because of the deity’s sannidhyam. When there is Divine presence, whoever comes to the temple is blessed with a job, is blessed with a child, and gets married. They go and share this with ten more people, twenty more people and the temple is flocked by people. People who visit the temple do service that leads to the development of the temple. When the divine presence in the temple goes down, the Lord is just quiet and when people come and pray, their prayers don’t get answered. Eventually the number of people coming to the temple is also less. Ok, what should be done for the Lord to get Divine presence? Firstly, proper pooja has to be in the prescribed way.
There should be a cow. There should be Namasankirtanam taking place. Itihasas and Puranas should be recited. There should be Veda Parayanam. Lot of devotees should visit the place. When one lakh devotees come at the time of opening the sanctum sanctorum of Guruvayurappan, and together chant the divine name Narayana, thousand times chanting of Narayana is already completed.
In the sanctum sanctorum of Thiruvenkatamudayan (Tirupati Venkateshwara), when one lakh people worshipping the Perumal chant ‘Govinda Govinda’, one lakh chanting of Govinda has happened. Whether the priest or the swami who performs pooja in the temple has faith or no faith regarding the presence of the Lord in the temple, whereas, a dumb devotee beholds the Lord by believing in the presence of the Lord in the temple. Divine presence is established by the strength of the bhAva of thousand people. A devotee waits in the long queue for ten hours, goes to the temple by doing pada yathra, he places one rupee sincerely in the hundi, chants Govinda and begs to get the money. The Lord will only talk to him. If you get a recommendation to stand in the queue, the Lord will not talk to you. The Lord will not talk to one who paid a lot of money to purchase the ticket.
‘yAdrishi yAdrishi shraddhA’ When you are standing close to the Lord and if you need anything, would you ask the Lord for it or any of the other people in the temple? Why should you ask for alms from the passerby? By asking alms from the passerby clearly shows that there is no belief that the Lord is present and that He will give us what we want. We should only seek the Lord’s divine feet for everything and not have any expectations from others. We should not ask for alms from anyone. If we go and reach out to others instead of the Lord, then it is an insult to the Lord. Why should we go and stand in front of anyone else? Why should we seek alms from anyone else? Divine presence will be there when there are plenty of cows, when we do Annadhanam, when there are elephants. Divine presence will be there when there is a holy tank in the precincts and when there are many sthala vrikshas(trees) in the temple.
Sannidhyam will be there when everyone follows AchAra. There should be no gossip in the sanctum sanctorum. No prohibited acts should be done. Lord’s divine presence will be there when the temple is pure and pristine. If we have to explain Divine presence in simple terms, consider there is a lamp with a wick. For the lamp to glow bright, oil has to be poured constantly. When the oil flow stops, the lamp will not glow even when the wick is present. Is it not?
Similarly for the Lord to have the divine presence, the Lord has to be celebrated. A child and the Lord will be present wherever they are celebrated. Doing many Utsavs with lakhs of devotees visiting the temple singing, dancing, jumping and standing before the Lord will make the Lord stand majestically and the Lord will also eventually start talking.
Similary, Ashram is not a mere building. Lots of Nama Sankirtan has to take place in the ashram. Lots of Veda Parayanam has to happen. Lots of Yaga has to take place. Ashram has to be inhabited by many Sadhus. All these bring glory to the Ashram. When a Mahatma glorifies an Ashram during his time, the divine presence of the Ashram will be there even after a thousand years. All these bring glory to the Ashram. That’s how we see Mahatma’s Ashram even today in India.
Foreign nations might have developed arms and ammunition, some nations might have developed due to affluence, but when someone wants peace they come only to India. When we go to Ramanashram, if we see whether it is foreigners who are doing brahma vichara or Indians doing brahma vichara, it is mainly foreigners who are doing brahma vichara. In the sanctum sanctorum of Ramanar, foreigners are able to sit straight for more than 6 to 8 hours. Whereas Indians are unable to do so. Foreigners don’t mind the heat, rain and cold. They are sitting in a cave atop the hill in Thiruvannamalai. They don’t think about the outside world. They don’t expect anything from the outside world. People are like that.
Swamijis in India are visited by foreigners. Shanthi means only India. India is the country where the flag of spirituality flies high. It is because the Rishis have blessed us with such wealth. That is verily an Ashram. One has to get peace upon entering an ashram . The divinity in the ashram has to be felt. The Lord’s divine presence has to be felt. It has to be the place where the Lord plays his divine sports. So here Rama sees an ashram. The ashram looked as if it was once beautiful but had now lost its charm. Rama sees this and immediately asks, “What is this?” “What ashram is this, O maharishi?” He said, ‘hanta’. Now that you have asked, I will tell you. I will tell you what happened. ‘shruNu tatvena rAghava’- I will narrate as it actually happened.
This ashram became the object of Gautama Maharishi’s fury. A very interesting phrase! Say there is an ashram.. When one does pada puja there, one begets children. When one does pada puja there, one gets married, No one who enters that ashram returns empty handed. Ashramas like that exist in India. But here, he says, “Long ago, even when Devas had problems, or if they wanted something, then they would come to this ashram (Gauthama’s ashram). ashramO divyasankAsha: surairapi supUjita:’ – Devas came to this ashram. This ashram was held in great esteem by them. By visiting this ashram, Devas attained fortune. Gauthama’s wife is Ahalya. She is a maha-pativrata (chaste woman). When we listen or do parayanam of Ahalya’s charita, we should do so with that perspective. One should not think otherwise. One who thinks Ahalya as a sinner will become a sinner. Why? Yesterday itself, when narrating the story, I said. In childhood, the elders, once the child wakes up, brushes his teeth and takes him in front of the Lord and teaches the slokas of punya purushas. When teaching so, there, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, Mandodari are all mentioned later. Who has been mentioned first? It is Ahalya! When it is said that if you remember Ahalya, your sins will be destroyed. Then, these are Deva-rahasya (secrets of God) and we won’t understand it. To show Rama’s glory they chose to belittle themselves is the rahasya (secret). So, when we do Parayana or when we listen to these charitras, making fun or thinking that we are perfect is itself a big sin!! So, here he says, Gauthama did such a severe penance!
Indra’s job is to keep track of those doing penance and spoil it. If Vishvamitra did penance, he spoiled Vishvamitra’s penance. When Diti did penance, he spoiled her penance! When the worship of Devas was stopped by Krishna, he showered heavy rains there! This was his job! Since he could not spoil Gauthama’s penance, so decided to play mischief with Ahalya and, therefore misbehaved with her! Poor lady, knowing that it was Devendra she stood transfixed not knowing what to do. [Seeing this, Gauthama] got angry! Gauthama blessed her in the pretext of a curse! What was the blessing? ‘You become a stone “or ” You be invisible!’ How can becoming a stone or being invisible be a blessing?
From sunrise till we sleep, we commit sins very casually. Without even realising that we are committing sins, we commit them. So, even people like us who commit sins without bothering, when we commit a major sin, we feel guilty about it. We fear it. It bothers us. If this is the condition for people like us who commit sins casually, then what will be Ahalya’s state? Ruminating over what she had done, she would feel guilty and wither away. She should not have the guilt. If she should not feel guilty, then she should not have any feelings. If she should not have any feelings, then she should become a stone! A stone does not have feelings at all! And, Rama was going to purify her! Until Rama came, she should be at peace. Else how could she have stayed for 1000 years? So, what he did was indeed a great blessing, isn’t it?
After 1000 years, Rama will come here. And when Rama comes, you will become pure again!
So, she was awaiting Rama’s arrival for 1000 years without being visible to anyone’s eyes. This is how Ahalya lived. No one knew where she was, or in what form she was, but something from Rama’s feet touched her and she got up. No one knew where she was, or in what form she was, but something from Rama’s feet touched her and she got up.
KambanAttu alwar sings this beautifully – ‘Kanda kalmisai kAkuttan kazhaL tugaL kaduva’ He uses the word ‘kaduva’. We say ‘pAda rajas’ in Samskrutam in Tamil this is beautifully said as ‘kAkuttan kazhal tugaL’ (Dust from Holy feet). What did this [Dust from Holy feet] do? ‘Kaduva’ – Slightly touched [Ahalya]. ‘undapedamai mayakku ara mei uNarbavan verupattu uruvam kondu kazhal koodiyadu oppa pandai vannamaai nindranaL mAmuni panipAn.’ In just one word KambanAttu Alwar conveys that she was very much purified – paNdai vaNNamAi nindRnaL’.
She became as pure as she was before. A very beautiful word! Kanda kalmisai kAkuttan, kazhaL tugZh kaduva, undapedamai mayakku ara mei uNarbavan verupattu, uruvam kondu, kazhal koodiyadu oppa pandai vannamaai nindranaL mAmuni panipAn Kanda kalmisai kAkuttan.
Vishwamitra narrated her story, on listening to it, like how human’s lament, Rama here says, “Such bad incidents happen in this world! A person deliberately molested a mAhapativrata! Does his mind have to think of such ways? Did he not get any other way? Is this not a great sin? Is this the work of God? Or is it the sins accumulated in previous births? Did he not know any other way to disrupt Gauthama’s Tapas?”
mAyiru visumbin kangai maN misaik koAardhon mainda! Meyina uvagayodu min ena odungi nindrAl, tIvinai nayandu seida devarkon tanakch sengaN Ayiram aLitton panni, ‘agaligai Agum’ endRan.
Viswamitra narrates everything that happened. Immediately, ponnai yEi sadaiyAn kUrak kettalum, pUmi keLvan, ‘ennaiye ennaiye’. Here twice he uses the word- ‘ennaiye ennaiye’. “What! Such like this happen in this world?” In disbelief He says, “What? What? This World is like this!” – ivvulagu iyal irunda vaNNam! munai Uzh vinaiyinAlo?’ – Is it due to sins from a previous birth? nadu ondru mudindadu andro?’ – or is this something that happened to her in this birth?
Annaiye’ – He sees her and calls her, “Mother!”. annaiye anauyAtku ingan aduttavAru aruluga! endrAn’ Vishwamitra says, “I brought you here mainly for protecting the yaga and for the slaying Tataka, Maricha and Subahu.” There I saw you wonderfully use several weapons like, Agneya astram. There I saw the greatness of your hands. Here I see the greatness of your feet.” ivvaNNam nigazhnda vaNNam ini inda ulagukkellAm uyyvaNNam andri matru ortuyar vaNNam uruvadu undo? mayvaNNatu araki porilmayvaNNAtthu aNNale un, kaivaNNam angu kanden, kAl vaNNam ingu kanden.
“You let out arrows rapidly from your bow using your hands! I saw that there in the battle with ThaTaka, Now You have purified a fallen person with Your feet – kAl vaNNam ingu kandEn.”
Many give another interpretation for [this phrase] i.e. Vishwamitra does not come in Ramayana after Sita KalyaNam. So a quarter (kAL) portion of Ramayana is Sita KalyAnam. So Vishwamitra says, “I’m only going to stay with you and see for the first quarter portion of your avatara. I’m not fortunate enough to see the later three quarters of your avatar”. kai vaNNam angu kanden, kAl vaNNam ingu kanden.
In the charitra of Bhagavan Nama Bodhendral, The purvashrama name of Bodendral was Purushottama. He went to Kasi kshetra in search of His Guru. He had the darshan of His Guru, Vishwadikendra Saraswati also known as Atma Bodendral in Kasi. He went along with a friend, Gnyana sagara [to Kasi] with whom He had taken a vow. The vow was “Amongst us, the one who will be alive, after having the darshan of our Guru who is in Kasi, on the banks of Ganga, shall also give up their life by jumping into the Ganges.” [Vow was taken after reading their fates that either of the two will die on their way to Kasi]. Purushottaman had the darshan of Vishwadhikendra Sarawasti.
In Sri Sri Anna’s Bodhendrashtakam, He says, ‘Vidya virakti hari bhakti viveka purNa vishwadikendra yati lAlita bAlakas tvam, samsara dasyu jana tAdana mUrchotasya, Bodendradeva mama dehi karAvalambham.’ Having had darshan of the great Vishwadikendra Saraswati in Kashi, with the name of ‘Purushottaman’ in his purva-ashrama, Sri Bodendral, along with his friend Gnanasagara travelled from Kanchi to Kashi; enroute in this journey, on the banks of river Narmada, Bodendra’s friend Gnanasagara attained the Lord’s Feet. So, Bodendral said that he took a vow – that he will go to Kashi, have darshan of his Guru, and give up his life by jumping into the Ganga. Upon knowing this, his Guru said – one should never commit suicide. A small hardship may have befallen us, but if we try to escape that unhappiness by committing suicide, only thing that will happen is – he would escape the small hardship but land in a greater hardship after death. The jiva can not go to the netherworlds like that of Pitrus or Pretas.. The jiva has to roam about on earth experiencing unbearable mental pain and unhappiness. So, everybody has to undergo the trials and tribulations of all the past papas and punyas. These fruits of karma have to be experienced and expended. Giving up one’s life is not the way out.
Committing suicide is a great sin. Even Parikshit says, “Did I kill a cow, or did I try committing suicide, that you have shortened Krishna katha for me as a punishment!” Even the thought of committing suicide is sinful. Hence, Bodhendra’s Guru says to him, “You have to keep up your vow too. I will tell you a solution for this problem. You should renounce the world and accept sanyasa. Sanyasa-ashrama is equivalent to the next birth. It would be equivalent to you dying, and you would not be committing suicide by accepting sanyasa. “You are a great Mahapurusha who has come down to earth to show the right path to the people.”
Lord Rama is known as “patita-pAvana” (one who uplifts the downtrodden). Sri Ammalu Ammal has composed a song on Sri Raghavendra. Sri Raghavendra was worshipping Mula Rama for his daily upasana. So she says in the song… “Patita pAvana Ramana pUjipa Yatindra ivarukke Namo Namo” So Rama was “patita-pAvana”, but here Sri Bodendra’s Guru says – “it is not just Rama who was patita-pAvana. ‘Rama nama’ is itself patita-pAvana” “Patitanukkum gathi ondru undu ena Gathi seidhavarukkum Namo Namo…” We know how the Kali Yuga is… no person, even if he is a dheera-purusha, is spared. From May 4th, the period known as “Agni Nakshatra” is going to start.
If someone claims “it won’t affect me” – it is simply untrue! It is common to all. If the weather is freezing cold, no one can claim “it won’t affect me” – it is common to all. Madras was flooded a few years back – it was common to all. How can anyone claim the flood waters won’t come near my house? Similarly, this Yuga’s dharma is common to all. This Yuga encourages sinners and disturbs the mind of those who try to do dharma. In such a Yuga, the only way out is Bhagavan Nama Kirtan. Even in Bhagavan Nama Kirtan, the easiest one is Taraka Nama. “Taraka” literally means “one that takes us across.”
Rama Nama Siddhanta was established by Bhagavan Nama Bodendra Swamigal. Sri Vishwadikendra Saraswati Swamigal told Sri Bodhendra, “You have descended on earth to establish the Siddhantha of Bhagavan Nama” His Guru initiated Bodendra into sanyasa-ashrama and bestowed a deeksha name on him. So far no one in Kamakoti Peeta has had such a name. Some of the names that do occur in the lineage are “MookaShankara”, “AbhinavaShankara”, “Chandrashekarendra Saraswati”, “Mahadevendra Saraswati”. The Guru, with a lot of foresight, named him “Bhagavan Nama Bodendral” He bestowed the name “Bhagavan Nama Bodhendra Saraswati Swamigal”
After taking sanyasa, Sri Bodhendra comes to the kshetra of Puri. Puri is a Maha Kshetra. In Puri lived a Pandit by name Lakshmidhara Kavi. From him, Sri Bodendra wanted to obtain the book “Bhagavan Nama Kaumudi” from the Pandit, as he wanted to establish Bhagavan Nama Siddhanta after grasping the contents of the book thoroughly in his mind. Sri Bodendra reached Puri late at night, around 10 pm. He reached the house of Lakshmidhara Kavi, but since it was very late, he just sat on the verandah. A sanyasi should not disturb a householder at late hours. Being well aware of this dharma, Sri Bodhendra sat in the verandah of the house. What did Sri Bhagavannama Bodhendra swamigal do? “Rama Rama Rama iti…” “Rama Rama Rama iti namakirtana-tatparam |
Tulasi-mani-mAlAm ca dhandinam ca dayAparam ||” “KAshAyAmbara vEshtitam Urdhva-pundrah-lalAtam”. He was always chanting “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…” “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama,…..”
Till this day it’s almost 300 years since he attained siddhi. Even though people like him are jeevan-muktas, he has assumed a siddha-sharira and is sitting in the adhishtana. People who are highly devoted and respectful, can even today perceive the sound of his Rama Nama japa. Even today Sri Bodhendra comes out of his adhishtana to give darshana to his devotees. Even today Sri Bodhendra speaks to his devotees.
In the brindavana of Sri Raghavendra Swamigal and in the adhishtana of mahans who have attained jeeva samadhi like Bhagavan Nama Bodhendral, Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral in Nerur.. If we go (to the jeeva samadhi of such saints) and do japa & dhyana, we can hear the sound of Sri Raghavendra Swami’s wooden Paduka as he walks. Some would say that he goes to river Thungabadhra to take bath. There will be a bell sound heard. He is doing a pooja of Moola Ramar internally, they would say. Is it true that he goes to take bath in Thungabadhra? Is it true that he internally does Moola Ramar pooja? It means that they are in the form of ‘Siddha Sharira’ (astral form) there. Neither he goes to bath in Thungabadhra nor does pooja of Moola Ramar. In order to boost up the devotion of the one who is entirely dependent on this Adhishtanam and in order to strengthen his faith, they make them realise such visions in them.
Even today, if we happen to be there in the Adhishtanam of Bodhendral, we could hear the sounds “Rama Rama Rama” It is said that even the ‘yama kinkaras’ dare not enter the premises around the Adhishtanam upto a distance of 3 yojanas. The ‘garjana’ (loud sound) of Rama Nama resonates in that place. He comes to the doorsteps of Lakshmidharakavi at Puri. It was midnight by that time. A family man along with his wife knocked at the door. As Lakshmidharakavi had gone outstation, his son Jagannathakavi and his mother opened the door with a lamp in their hands, wondering who was knocking at the door at midnight. It was a family man with his wife from south India. He asked, “What is the matter that you have come in this midnight?” That man said, “Is your father not here?” “My father has gone outstation.” That man replied… “There is a doubt to be clarified in Dhrama Shathra. We both travelled from south India. Being a period of unrest, somebody kidnapped my wife on the way. I was searching for her, but couldn’t find her. I saw her today. She wants to come with me. What does the Shastra say?” The son replied, “My father is not required to clarify this, I myself can clarify your doubt. What you can do is, you have to come to the banks of the river nearby Puri along with your wife. Tell her to take a dip in the river chanting “Rama Rama Rama ” thrice. You can then live together as you had been earlier. You can proceed with your ‘theertha yatra’ (holy pilgrimage) as well. On hearing this, his mother shouted, “What did you say, son?” The son replied “Why, mother, our father used to say this right?!”. Mother exclaimed, “Why 3 times? Just one time “Rama Nama” is enough.”
Bodhendral’s joy knew no bounds on hearing this! This is what he has been looking for. He came up to them. He is a ‘bala sanyasi’ (young saint), with such radiance that made them wonder if sun has risen up in the night. His radiance seemed like His ‘kashaayam’ (saffron cloth) is wrapped around the fire. Immediately, they all fell at His feet. They prostrated to Bodhendral at His feet. Bhagavan Nama Bodhendral felt very happy. He called onto Jagannathakavi. He asked him for the proof for what he said. He gave him a palm leaf manuscript called “Bhagavan Nama Kaumudi” Bodhendral is capable of observing the information in just a matter of time. He went through the manuscript and gave it back to Jagannathakavi. Bodhendral perceived the entire contents in Him.
To let the world know the greatness of Bodhendra Swami and the greatness of Rama Nama, people were proclaimed by drum beats to gather on the river bank next morning. There was a large crowd assembled on the river bank in the morning. That couple took a dip in the river chanting “Rama Nama ” together. As soon as they rose up, the wife became as pious as she was before kidnapping. They came up from the river like that of Thiruneelakanda Nayanar. Entire crowd shouted slogans of “Rama Rama Rama ”. They all wondered whether it is the glory of Rama Nama or the glory of Bodhendra Swami or the glory of Lakshmidharakavi or the glory of the Shastras or the glory of the Kshetras or the glory of the river. It is the glory of Nama. What can Nama not do? If you firmly believe something is impossible for you, even that can be succeeded by Nama, provided you are ready to chant Nama consistently without laziness. It is not just telling 10 times and blaming that Nama didn’t do anything.
During Rama’s incarnation, Rama had to come to purify Ahalya. Whereas during the period of Bodhendral, what Bodhendral has shown is, “Not Rama, Rama Nama is only enough.” He came to Kanchi kshethra. He did grantas (texts) on Bhagavan Nama Siddhantha. Out of 8, we get to have only 1 or 2 today. Important of them is ‘Bhagavan Nama Rasodhayam.’ In the first chapter of Bhagavan Nama Rasodhayam, Bodhendral says “A question arises if one can obtain good merits (punya) by doing Nama sankeerthanam.” Bodhendral himself answers that “Is there a contradiction that doing Nama sankeerthanam will give punya or not? Let that be, and I tell you, Only if you had accumulated good merits (punya) in previous births, will you get Nama in your tongue.” “Otherwise your tongue would not give up to tell Nama; you would probably be doing something that is impossible for you. Doing dhyana or yoga is not achievable to you. As said, at this age you need the lifespan to practice and attain the fruit (siddhi) of yoga. PrAyeNAlpAyushaH sabhyaH kalAvasmin yuge janAH | mandAH sumandamatayo mandabhAgYA hyupadrutAH || Why did he say prAyena alpaAyushaH?
Out of one’s lifespan of about sixty years or eighty years, a portion of it is gone in childhood, another working, and some in old-age Though there is quantity of life, there is no quality of life. Then how can we do yoga? How can we do dhyana? How can we do braHma-vicAra? We lack courage in our minds. We don’t have will-power. We lack a steady mind. In such times, then what is the way? Bhagavan Nama Bodhendra Swamigal says, “In this yuga our mind would go towards a dharma which we won’t be able to follow. But only one, who has gained merits over many crores of births will have wisdom. He would think of practical ways to attain liberation. He wouldn’t be adamant. The only way to liberation is ‘Bhagavan Nama’ which is the only refuge.”
Thus, he establishes the greatness of Bhagavana Nama with many facts. “Is saying ‘Rama Rama Rama’ enough?” The learned object. Why? When we say ‘Rama’, it’s just a name, but the sentence isn’t complete. When we say “Rama, I prostrate unto you” or “Rama, show mercy on me”. Or “Rama, you are my Sole refuge”(the sentence is complete). But when we say just “Rama”, it seems incomplete. There isn’t an object. So the learned scholars object to it. Bodhendra Swamigal immediately gives them a reply “You all celebrate ‘Maha vakhyam’ in Vedanta. Celebrate the verse “tat tvamasi”. Similarly, there is a verse in Rig veda called “pragnyanam braHma”. Even in that verse, the sentence is not complete. Those verses are incomplete, but still you celebrate it as Maha vakyam. While saying “Rama ”, whether we know it or not, the ParamAtmA knows well that he is being called.
With Ramakrishna Paramahamsa day by day who stayed, who came to visit him, what did they converse, how was His bhava samadhi, All these are known to us only because of the great service of Mahendranath Gupta. He stayed with him and wrote down everything. Reading it gives pure happiness. Paul Brunton in his book named ‘A Search in Secret India’, says about Mahendranath Gupta “In Calcutta, sitting on the terrace of his house, I would be talking to him. Even as I would be talking to him, I would experience a flow of the divine wave inside me. If sitting in front of Mahendranath Gupta itself, I could experience the divine wave, then what would have happened to me if I had seen his Master (Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa)” Paul Brunton says so in his book named ‘A Search in Secret India’. That Mahendranath Gupta, one day, said to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa “I can accept everything you say except ‘Saguna upasana’”.
Mahendranath Gupta said so to Ramkrishna Paramahamsa in the early days (of his association with Ramakrishna). Ramakrishna immediately said, “You speak about Brahmam. Please explain it to me.” Ramakrishna asked Mahendranath Gupta “Where is that Brahmam?” He replied, “sarvavyapi (omnipresent)”. “That sarva vyapi (omnipresent) is residing even in this archavatara (divine murthy form) too, isn’t it?” Next, “Does that Brahmam know everything? He is sarvagnyan. Then if a devotee believes that (Supreme) is present in the murthy and worships it the Brahmam will know that, isn’t it?” “Yes He will” said M. “Is there anything which he can’t do?” “He is sarvashakthan (all powerful)”. In that case for that bhakta, can he shower the grace through that archavatara or not?” Yes, He can”. Only then realization dawned on Mahendranath Gupta.
If the omnipresent Bhagavan is deemed not to be inside the archavatara we pray to? What kind of Vedanta is that? It can be thrown into the garbage. Bhagavan is present even in the archavatara. He is all knowing. When a Bhakta calls him through this divine form, He knows that too. He knows even when we speak to him in any language. Because language isn’t important here. The thoughts that rise in our minds are important.
“Giram samAdhau” (says Bhagavatam). Even before we think, Bhagavan knows the thought arising in our mind. If a Bhakta thinks about Him only through this divine form, then Bhagavan too knows that only through this (archavatara) grace has to be showered, only through this we should talk and play with him. So, not sure about others, but for Vaishnavas this divine murthy form is pratyaksha avatara – (incarnation that can be perceived). For them, it is Bhagavan himself. They celebrate the divine murthy form. So instead of calling it as an idol, it is the avatar of Lord himself in archavatara, just like the avatara of Lord in human form (vibhava avatara).
So, Bodhendra Swamigal says in Nama Siddhantam, “You visit a kshetra (holy place), You see Tiruvenkatamudaiyan. You go to Guruvayur. You see Guruvayurappan. You go to Senganoor. You see Lord Srinivasa present in Senganoor. Why do you go in search of that Lord in that form? There is a Divine power (saanidhya) in that divine idol form of the Lord. That’s why we go there. The divine power present in that divine idol form is also present in the name “Rama ” You can do japa, wherever you are. But do it with faith. You will accomplish the unaccomplished. Even the unthinkable will happen. It’s very easy. It’s very sweet. But it will give huge merit. To Bhagavan Yogi Ramsuratkumar a person approached and asked, “What is your qualification?”. He said, “Double M.A”. “What?” exclaimed the person. He said, “ra-MA na-MA”. So, the ‘Rama’ Nama is supreme. We heard Patitapavana Rama’s story today, as much as we could.
Janaki-kanthasmaranam Jai Jai Ram Ram!
Sathgurunath Maharajki Jai!
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare |
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ||
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