As devotees and children of Sri Swamiji, we all wish to please our Guru Maharaj. We know that chanting the Mahamantra pleases him immensely. And what else pleases him? Don’t we all desire to know that too?
A devotee asked this very question on the auspicious occasion of Guru Poornima this year (2022). A wonderful question, which revealed the heart of Sri Swamiji for all of his children.
Devotee: Guruji, Mahamantra Namakirtan is very dear to your heart. And along with that, what else would please you the most?
With a blossoming face, an instantly pleased Sri Swamiji very sweetly and fondly answered this question in detail. The gist of his answer is presented here for our benefit.
“Following Bhagavata dharma, meaning, living and practicing Bhagavata dharma every day. All paths in our Sanatana dharma like Vaideeka dharma, Vedanta, Yoga Shastra have what is known as six principal practices (anushtanas). Similarly, for Bhagavata Dharma too, Sri Sadhguru Swamigal has established six principal practices to be practiced every day – Chanting slokas composed by the Guru early in the morning, Parayanam, Unchavruthi, Pooja, Divyanamam or Katha Shravanam, and Dolotsavam.
“The purpose of following these six anushtanas is earning atmagunas –
genuine qualities ultimately culminating in attaining bhakti, jnana and vairagyam.
“As we chant Bhagavan Nama, we should earnestly pray and seek that we earn and develop these supreme qualities that would please the Guru. Bhagavan Nama is the fees that we pay to Bhagavan as He has given us a world like this to enjoy and live happily; it is the rent we pay for the place we are blessed to stay in!
“While chanting Bhagavan Nama, one need not give importance to the voice or tune, etc. Chanting has to be with love and affection which is the most essential. Only when Bhagavan Nama is chanted with love and affection these divine qualities will blossom. With these divine qualities, when one chants Bhagavan Nama, it is like the flowering of a glittering golden flower along with divine fragrance.
“In Srimad Bhagavatam, in the 11th canto the nine yogis expound Bhagavata Dharma to the King of Videha. The first yogi, Kavi, beautifully tells that Bhagavata dharma is that which has been bestowed by Bhagavan Himself – “ye vai bhagavatA prOktA upAya hyAtmalabdhaye”.
“While Bhagavan assigned other sages to teach other paths, for Bhagavata Dharma, He Himself is the Guru and decided to do Bhagavata dharma upadesa Himself. For it is His favorite. (Like a professor desires to teach his favorite subject himself.)
“[Here’s a point to be noted.] When extolling Bhagavata dharma, the first yogi, Kavi says, “dhAvan nimIlyavAn nEtrE na skalen na patetiha” – one can run blindfolded in the path of Bhagavata dharma (without any fear); they can never go wrong, fall down, or get hurt. However, the upadesa that the fourth yogi Prabuddha gives is, “Go and learn Bhagavata dharma from a Guru” (tasmAd gurum prapadyEta…). The question now is, what is there to learn in Bhagavata dharma (a path where anyone can run even blindfolded and not worry about falling or getting hurt)? Bhagavan Namakirtan is the very pillar of Bhagavata dharma, which even a small child can do. Mahamantra chanting is so simple that it needs no teaching or learning. One chants by merely listening, so what is the need for shiksha?
“But we need to remember that words that spill from mahatmas are indeed very profound. They don’t use any extra or unnecessary words in their speech and they coin every word with utmost care. Here, the message behind these words [of Prabuddha] is that we need to be with a Guru and see, observe the Guru and learn from how he lives. Learning from the Guru means learning from his simple, humble ways; living each second as Bhagavan’s wish; and how he is always immersed in thoughts of Bhagavan, untouched and unperturbed by anything happening around him. Seeing a Guru who is leading a very simple and forgiving life, one will be inspired to be simple, take everything, every little incident in life, as the wish and will of Bhagavan, and learn never to feel dissatisfied or frustrated about anything.
“This is Bhagavata dharma. We see such instances from the life of various mahatmas who have lead this kind of life. Even though Thyagaraja Swami was very poor, when the king offered him money, he only sang , “nidhi chAla sukhama, rAma nI sannidhi seva sukhama?” Similarly Tukaram Maharaj was in utter poverty with a big family but when King Shivaji brought money and requested Tukaram Maharaj to accept it at least for his (Shivaji’s) happiness, Tukaram Maharaj was totally aghast and asked him, “For your happiness can I consume the flesh of a cow?” For the Lord of the Universe who is sustaining all life forms, how much does it take to offer some wheat bread for Tukaram Maharaj and his family? These mahatmas submitted their entire self to Bhagavan and let Him run their lives. Eknath Maharaj never lost his temper though he was tested multiple times. Namadev Maharaj was able to see Lord Panduranga even in a dog. Bhagavan is present in all creatures and this is seen through incidents in the life of all mahatmas. We should be able to apply these in our lives, and that becomes the real teaching and learning. We learn and keep applying parallelly and thereby grow steadily in our path.
These are the great qualities of the Guru that the disciple should observe, learn, and also relish. A true disciple of a Bhagavata Paramahamsa will enjoy every word and action of the Guru, however it be, and revel in reflecting on those sweet thoughts.
The greatest loss would be if, in spite of being with such an utthama Guru throughout one’s life from morning to night, one misses to observe and relish His great atmagunas. That would be akin to seeing the bright, magnificent sun, but not taking even a minute to admire or be awed at its presence and power.
In another recent satsang, during the opening of Kalattipet Namadwaar on July 26 2022, Sri Swamiji demonstrated how much he was pleased by atmagunas, by himself sharing the example of an incident in a devotee’s life. Here is what Sri Swamiji shared:
Sri Swamiji said that Bhagavan is very pleased with a devotee who possesses atmagunas, says Tukaram Baba in one of his abhangs. We chant Nama to acquire such atmagunas.
Saying so, Sri Swamiji spoke about the honesty and integrity of a devotee there. The devotee’s father was admitted and treated for his ailment in a Hindu Mission hospital. As he was unable to afford the treatment cost, on Sri Swamiji’s request, the hospital had agreed to treat him without fee. Later, the devotee received money from an insurance claim. Immediately, he went to the hospital and paid the money back to the hospital saying that he received the amount from the insurance and that he wanted to pay back his treatment cost. Sri Swamiji said that the hospital authority just stood up in awe seeing this act of the devotee. He could have just kept the money and not repaid the hospital, especially given the frugal state of his family’s finances.
Sri Swamiji was truly touched by the devotee’s integrity, despite his personal financial status. He also shared how later when the devotee’s father passed away, he had sent some prasadam and money for the last rites. But the devotee returned the money saying his father had saved some money for it.
The fact that Sri Swamiji himself shared these incidents publicly shows how much he must have been moved by the devotee’s righteousness, straightforwardness, and sincerity. Indeed such atmagunas please our Guru immensely!
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