How can we grow Bhakti? – Apr 13, 2021

Translated transcript of Sri Swamiji’s discourse on April 13, 2021

Link to the discourse video on Global Organisation for Divinity Facebook page:

In the 5th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, Rishabhadeva advises his sons. The purpose of human birth is to ensure that there is no human birth again. This is the goal of human life. If we need to ensure that we don’t get another human birth, we need to attain Bhagavan. For that we need to follow one of the sadhanas prescribed in our shastras. To follow a sadhana, we need to take refuge under a Mahan; only then can we enter into a path of sadhana. 

Rishabhadeva says beautifully – As a human being, the reason why one studies, is to attain Bhagavan. He goes to work and earns money. Why?  To attain Bhagavan. He wears clothes… why? To attain Bhagavan. He eats.. why? To attain Bhagavan! After attaining a human birth, his studies, his job, the reason why he wears clothes, eats… everything he does… all these activities should lead to ensuring that he is not born again. So the purpose of human birth is make use of his life to achieve that goal of not being born again. 

We, by ourselves, cannot know that this is the purpose of the human birth, right? Someone has to teach us this. Here Rishabhadeva says, you attain a Guru. That Guru needs to tell you –  This human birth is very durlabham. It is very rare. Make use of this birth somehow and find a way to keep from being born again! Rishabhadeva says a Guru who does not show such a path to his disciple is not a Guru at all! 

“gurur na sa syAt…”

“Do not stay with such a guru. Run away from him.” Why? He is not a Guru at all!

The main purpose of a Guru is attaining Jnana! Why do you go in search of him? To attain Jnana! Only through jnana he will attain mukti and be able to destroy his ignorance. 

So, Rishabhadeva says here, the parama prayojanam (supreme purpose) of a Guru is to repeatedly reiterate again and again (because our mind is loaded with impurities and defects), like a blacksmith beats the iron rod with a hammer repeatedly, that, “This human birth is rare! This human birth is rare! Attain Bhagavan! Attain Bhagavan! Somehow take effort and attain the purpose of human birth!” The Guru needs to repeatedly ‘drill’ this into their disciple’s buddhi. If a Guru does not show such a path, then there is no use of you being with such a guru because he is not a guru at all! 

So he beautifully says “gurur na sa syAt…”

Next, our family and relatives. Your family, friends, and relatives need to encourage you and tell you “Attain Bhagavan! Attain Bhagavan!” and enthuse and create a favorable environment for you to travel in the spiritual path to attain Bhagavan. If they fail to do so, “svajana na sa syAt…” They are not our friends or relatives. 

One should not fear or worry when someone travels in the path towards Bhagavan. But we should be happy. Why? We need to feel that, even though we ourselves may be unable to do it, at least he is doing it and attaining the purpose of his birth.

In Tiruvannamalai (state of Tamil Nadu, India), there was a person by name Annamalai Swamigal, a great disciple of Sri Ramana Maharishi. As a child, one day, he told his mother, “Amma, I want to somehow attain the purpose of this human birth. There is a great jivanmukta in Tiruvannamalai called Sri Ramana Maharshi. I want to go take refuge in him, serve him and reach the purpose of this birth.”  His mother was so pleased, unlike other common mothers. She said, “I am very happy with what you have said! I have no regret at all! But you need to promise me something!”

What promise did the mother want? Did she want to tell him to go only after she had passed away? Or was she going to ask him to come back to her when it was time for her to pass away? Was she going to ask him to provide for her (by leaving money in a bank, etc.) before leaving? No. 

She said, “When you choose to live such a divine life and reach the highest goal, then not just you, even I and all our ancestors attain liberation… I am very happy that you are choosing such a life. But Maya is very wicked. It will try to separate the jiva from the Mahan! It will make I-ness (ahankaram) and mine-ness (mamakaram) raise their heads and somehow separate the disciple and the Guru.” 

It could happen in trivial matters too! For example, in a household, let’s say the parents go out and come back. They notice that the house is clean. They ask who cleaned the house. The elder son did it, but he is not there, and the younger son says, “I did it!” The younger child tries to earn his claim even in this trivial matter within the house. 

The human mind is so lowly and fickle that even a young child in its own house wants to take credit for something it didn’t do; then imagine when it comes to fame or accomplishment on a large scale, how crazy the mind will get! A person claims credit as “I did it” even for a simple act done within the house! We smile with pride if someone garlands us or offers a shawl in front of even a small group of say 10 people! So much pride towards “I” is inbuilt in human being. 

Maya plays with these thoughts of “I” and “mine” and tried to push us away from the Guru. Because when there is a Mahatma, there may be a 100 or 1000 people around him. Not everyone (around him) is a mahan. Everyone has taken refuge in him, like we have.  

So the mother of Annamalai Swamigal asked for a promise. She said, “I have heard about this Maya! It will try to separate you from your Guru and remove you from satsang. Promise me that for any reason – no matter what fight, disagreements, etc. there may be – promise me that you will never separate yourself from Bhagavan Ramana! Promise me that you will not move away from the path!” If a mother asks for this promise from her son, what a mature soul and a ‘viveki’  that mother must have been! 

After promising his mother, he reached Sri Ramana Ashram in Tiruvannamalai. However, after a while, Maya did its trick and created a difference of opinion within a group of people in the ashram. So he left the ashram and wanted to go to Varanasi (Kasi). He decided he would go to Kasi and do brahmavicharam there, as that was also a way for Liberation. He walked out of Tiruvannamalai and reached the town of Sriperumpudur, from where he was going to continue on to Kasi the next morning. That night, as he was half asleep, he suddenly saw a jyothi and Sri Ramana appeared before him. Sri Ramana said, “What did you promise your mother?” and disappeared. Immediately the next day, he returned to Tiruvannamalai and did not leave Tiruvannamalai till the end of his life. So only such a mother who tells you to go towards Bhagavan is a real mother. 

“pitA na sa syAt, jananI na sA syAt…”

Someone who tells you not to go towards Bhagavan is not a father. One who tells you not to do dhyana is not a father. One who tells you not to do Bhagavad bhakti is not a mother. 

Stopping Bhagavad bhakti is a rajasic or tamasic tendency. This was how Jaya Vijaya (the gatekeepers in Vaikuntam) stopped Sanakadi Rishis and paid the price for that act by going through turmoil in their lives. 

It is a great sin to stop someone who is going towards Bhagavan. Such acts are the kind done by asuras like Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu! We need to enthuse and encourage such devotees and not stop them. So Rishabhadeva says that such a father who does not aid his son towards Bhagavad bhakti or send him to do Bhagavad bhakti is not a real father. Such a mother is not a true mother.

In case someone is devoted to his chosen deity and if that deity does not show the path to get rid of the cycle of birth and death, then that deity is not a real deity! ‘deivam na tatsyAt’.

People taking the path of karma marga are called “devAnAm priyA”. They do yagnA and yAgA, and if they leave that path and go towards the path of moksha, it seems the devatas would give troubles to that person as now he would not be doing agnihotram or yagna and so the devatas would be deprived of offerings and food. So they will trouble him and not allow him to go in that path [of moksha]. Rishabhadeva says do not follow such deities!  ‘deivam na tatsyAt’.

If there is a husband who tells his wife that should not do Bhagavad bhakti, “patischa na sa syAt…”! He is also not a real husband.

“na mOchayEtyaha samupEta mrutyum 

He cannot deliver one who is caught in the cycle of birth and death. 

Rishabhadeva says a guru is not a Guru, relatives/friends are not relatives/friends, a father is not a father, a mother is not a mother, a deity is not a deity, a husband is not a husband if they don’t show the path to relief from the cycle of birth and death. 

gurur na sa syAt svajano na sa syAt

pitA na sa syAj jananI na sA syAt

daivam na tat syAn na patischa sa syAn

na mochayEd yaḥ samupeta mṛtyum

There is Ramayanam. We all celebrate the great Ramayana as the epitome of how Lord Rama, as a son, did “pitruvAkya paripAlanam” (fulfilled his father’s vow). Rama avatara is one where he considered his parents to be his deities indeed! In such a great Rama avatara, his own brother Bharata did not listen to his mother Kaikeyi. Why? jananI na sA syAt! 

Kaikaeyi said, “Bharata take the kingdom! I have earned it for you!” Did Bharata think, “What the mother says is like the command of the Vedas. I must listen to her. mAtru dEvo bhava” and accept the kingdom? Why not? Because what his mother said was going against the Lord.  So if the mother is ordering to do something that will going against the Lord, we should not listen to it! “jananI na sA syAt.” If the mother speaks against the Lord, do not listen to the mother.

Rama avatara was an avatara just to show obedience to the father (pitruvAkya paripAlanam), so when Hiranyakashipu told Prahlada, “Hey! Do not do Bhagavad bhakt! Do not do Hari bhakti! Do not do Bhagavan Nama kirtan!”, did Prahlada think, “Oh, Bhagavan is going to show in Rama avatara how it is important to obey the father, so I am going to obey my father and not chant Nama!”? No.

If his father called, he would come. He would do namaskaram. He would fold his hands and be humble in his father’s presence. He obeyed everything else that his father said. He did not listen to only one thing. When his father said, “Do not do Hari bhakti!” he did not obey. Why? Because one who says that is not a father. pitA na sa syAt!

The child (Prahlada) obeyed and listened to everything else. He only didn’t listen when he said don’t do Hari bhakti because a father, or mother, or relatives, or guru does not have the right to stop someone from doing Hari bhakti. Why? Because they are only related to this body. They are father, mother, only in this birth. I have had several such births and had several different parents. Vedanta says if you go to pitru loka (world of pitrus, ancestors), you can even see parents from thousands of births. “I was your father in the last birth!” someone would come. “I was your father in the birth before that,” someone else would say! And so on… Shastras say this. I may have many father, many mothers… if just a father and mother can be this many, imagine the number of relatives! 

So Bhagavan is my atmabandhu. You are all only my shareera-bandhus (related only to my body). Shareera bandhus do not have the right to separate me from my Atmabandhu. 

So Rishabhadeva gives this beautiful explanation… na mOchayEtyaha samupEta mrutyum. 

He says, “Give up those who do not show you the path to attain moksha! Do not listen to them!”

When he says patir na sa syAt, we see that in Meera Bai’s charitram, Rana troubles her a lot. Meera listened to everything that her husband Rana asked her to do. But when he asked her not to do Krishna kirtan, she did not listen to that. Just like Prahlada did not listen to his father when he instructed him to stop doing Hari bhakti. Bharata also did not take up the kingdom. Meera also did not give up Krishna kirtan.

So he says find a way to attain a state of birthlessness! How can we attain such a state? Beautifully in that same 5th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, where Jadabharata does updesa to the king Rahugana. 

rahUgaNa etat tapasA na yAtI 

“O Rahugana, that great atmajnana will not come simply by tapas.”

vinA mahat pAda rajo abhishekam

If it can come with tapas, Hiranyakashipu must have attained it. He did such severe penance standing on one leg. Brahma himself was stunned and comes saying, “Hey Kaashyapa, there has never been anyone who has done such severe tapas as you, and there will not be anyone who can do it in the future!” Did Hiranyakashipu become sensible because of such tapas? Can anyone do a tapas like Ravana? ? Can anyone do a tapas like Bhasmasura? 

Let’s say there is a person who remains without eating for a month, and there is another person who eats and does Nama sankirtan. The one who ate and did Nama sankirtan is greater than the one who simply sat without eating.

Let’s say there is a person who does not sleep, and another who sleeps during his job but does bhajana… the person who does bhajana is only greater! Going without sleep, etc. is like threatening Bhagavan. He will never fall for such things. Maybe some small deities may fall for such acts but Bhagavan does not get impressed. We need to understand this well. 

There are so many people who don’t have homes, they sleep on the platform (streets). Can we call them a virakta or a jnani? “Oh this person sleeps daily on the beach. He has no home. So he is a great mahatma!” Does anyone feel like this? All this is related to the mind (not physical circumstances). 

While doing tapas, people like Hiranyakashipu/Ravana think I have to control all the worlds and rule over and tyrannize everyone. Such tapas is not real tapas. Tapas has to be earned like wealth or knowledge, so it has a cost to it. Jnana is not something to be earned. It is svAbhAvic (natural). It is indeed your svarUpam (intrinsic nature). Your atma (soul) is not going to enter into you because you have earned it; or the atma that is inside you is not going to gradually reveal itself (as you earn it). It is something that is always there (nityasiddha). 

So here Jadabharata says, “rahUgaNa etat tapasA na yAtI” 

Rahugana asks, “Ok Swami, I shall do a lot of yAga…”

Jadabharata: “na cha ijyayA…

There is no one who has done agnihotra and sAmagAna and yAgas like Ravana. He didn’t even get chittashuddhi! So it cannot be attained through yAga also. 

nirvapaṇAd gṛhAd vA.. nacchandasA naiva jalAgni sUryair..”

If you are doing a lot of vaideeka (Vedic) karmas, or being in grhasta dharma, or chanting Vedas, or doing japa while being immersed in neck-deep water, or performing Surya upAsana, or doing homams… whatever you do, you will not get that jnana! 

If you do just one thing, you will get jnana…

vinA mahat pAda rajObhishEkam

In your lifetime, you need a connection with a Mahatma who has had the darshan of the Lord! After getting the connection, find a way to please him… tatviddhihi praNipAtena 

For him, showering His grace on you is not a sankalpam (conscious thought or intention) because he is not a tapasvi, he is a jnani and has no sankalpam! Since he has no sankalpam, when someone comes to him, he does not feel that he has to bless one person or not bless another, etc… he just remains as Parabrahmam (in a state of complete bliss).

When you are in the presence of such a mahatma, something you do can trigger His compassion. Like how a cow gets affectionate towards its calf through an internal chemistry when the calf comes nearby, a chemistry is kindled in these mahans. So Bhagavatam teaches – Try to do many things that can be pleasing to them, won’t Lord Sri Hari be pleased by one of these acts? Try chanting nama one day, do namaskaram one day, do archana one day… why do we do all this? Thinking that won’t at least one of these make compassion pour forth on me from His heart?  

So he says “vinA mahat pAda rajObhishEkam

Bhakti or jnana is not like something in a box that we can find by opening the box. It is not something where we can think, “Oh there is atma inside! So let me open each of the different layers of Annamaya kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Vigyanamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Anandamaya Kosha and ah! There is the Atma!”

Bhakti is not something that can be written and understood through books. It [bhakti and jnana] must be blossomed through various stages in one’s heart like how a tree yields a fruit going through multiple stages; as a flower, then through pollination yields a baby fruit which ripens over time to become a juicy sweet fruit. So, it is not like picking an object from a box. It is a chemistry! For example, how can we  make a pot of milk into curd? We need to add to it a little bit of curd from another pot that has already become curd. Like that, when a mahatma who has already seen Bhagavan touches you and the moment his krupa falls on you, your chemistry changes. Then what happens? All these days you chanted Nama and did not shed any tears. Now your eyes begin to shed tears. You feel horripilation (hair standing on end). 

Sage Narada explains how in his earlier birth, because he ate the leftovers of the sadhus’ food (ucchishtam), their bhakti bhavas manifested in him. “I ate what the sadhus ate, and that’s it, it created a great transformation, a wonder in me!” 

So don’t go to any guru; he should be one who has seen Bhagavan! He should be one who can show Bhagavan to you. Whatever the japa or dhyana you do, you will constantly have the worry, “Will I get moksha in this birth? Will I get moksha in this birth?” But once you attain a Mahatma, that worry will disappear. Because now taking you to moksha is his responsibility, and not your effort. 

It becomes his responsibility. Then who do we do japa? Because we should not be lazy, right? We only do japa because of that. We indeed know the [poor] state of my japa and dhyana and that it cannot take me to moksha. Still I should not sit uselessly. He does not like it if I sit idle without doing anything. So I am doing something.

So here he says beautifully “vinA mahat pAda rajObhishEkam

When you attain a Mahatma, if you are fortunate, you will get a Mahan who follows Bhagavata Dharma! 

Because “dharmam bhAgavatam kalau ati sukham” – This path is an enjoyable one always. Yoga is hard while practicing, but the fruit is pleasurable. Tapas is hard while practicing, but the fruit is pleasurable. Vedanta vicharam is hard while practicing, but the fruit is pleasurable. However, bhakti is pleasurable both while doing as well as when we attain its fruit. If someone narrates Bhagavat gunam (the divine qualities of the Lord) wonderfully, is it bitter or tough to listen? If someone does Divyanama SankIrtan wonderfully, is it bitter or difficult to listen? If someone does Srimad Bhagavad Parayanam musically is it bitter or tough to listen? What difficulty is there in offering beautiful, fragrant flowers to the Lord? How joyful it is to have darshan of the most beautiful Lord and his lotus face! Bhakti is joyful while practicing as well as after attaining its goal. It is not difficult. Bhakti is easy. And when do bhakti, Bhagavan is also easy!

Jadabharata says, “yatra uttamasloka gunAnu vAda: Hey Rahugana, go search for a place where everyday someone does Bhagavata katha or someone does Bhagavata parayan…” 

prastUyatE grAmya kathA vigAta” – In such places, they will not share jokes or talk about world affairs, or chit chat. Even though there is information about other things like nimitta shastram or saguna shastram in Bhagavatam, they will not speak about all that. They will take only bhakti and speak about it. They won’t say, “All these bad omens were seen by Dharmaputra… they won’t tell all those stories!” If your taste goes into such things, it shows that you don’t have taste for bhakti but only in such gossip. Even when doing upanyasam on Mahabharata, they will talk only about Draupadi’s sharanagati and not [for example] the political matters spoken of in Shanthi parva.  They only catch the bhakti aspects. We can show who you are based on where your mind goes. They will not be interested in things other than bhakti. 

yatra uttamasloka gunAnu vAda: prastUyatE grAmya kathA vigAta nishEbhyamAno anudinam

In the place where there is katha or bhajana, there should not be any other talk at all. When bhajana starts, everyone should take part and sing along. 

[Bhagavata Mahatmyam says] 

athau drishTvA vaishNava chittEshu bhaktim alaukikim

nijalOkam parityajya bhagavAn bhaktavatsalaha

Is there any dearth for satsangs or kathas in the world? Thousands of people tell katha, katha is conducted in thousands of places, utsavs are conducted everywhere… why does Bhagavan not come everywhere? He has said “athau drishTva” right? But he says bhaktim alaukikim! Because in a satsang, if everyone wants only Bhagavan, Bhagavan will come. If they all want money, they will get wealth; if they want fame, they will get fame; or they will each get what they desire… then Bhagavan will not come. 

If Bhagavan should come, what should you do? Bhagavan will not deceive anyone either. He will not send anyone empty-handed. If you sit at your altar and perform archana and when you do it, if you think you want a house, car, etc. you will get all that, but won’t get Bhagavan. Only if you think I want only Bhagavan, I don’t want all this… only then will you get Bhagavan. But Bhagavan does not deceive anybody. He fulfils each one’s desire based on the vasana in their heart. In case I want to curse someone with the power of the bhakti I have done, Bhagavan nods for that also. If you do that, you will lose your tapas and be the loser in the bargain. But you will also face the consequence of cursing someone. Because every action has its reaction.

yatra uttamasloka gunAnu vAda: 

prastUyatE grAmya kathA vigAta 

nishEvyamAno anudinam

So without missing a single day, if someone chants “janmAdhyasya yathah….” Listen to Bhagavata parayanam or do Bhagavata parayanam in the morning, and in the evening “Do you know what Krishna did? There was a beautiful pond in the Yamuna, and Kaliya the serpent was in it. Bhagavan started out to subdue that Kaliya. Bhagavan Himself is amritamaya, and he climbed the amritamaya kadamba tree and jumped from it… tam chanDavEga…” listen or tell katha everyday. Nothing else!

nishEbhyamAno anudinam mumukshOr

If you are a sadhaka, if you desire moksha, go to that place. 

matim satim yacchati vAsudEve

It is enough if you sit continuously in that place. In which place? That place where everyday, without any worldly talk, where Bhagavan’s qualities are spoken of, sung about, extolled, worshipped! That is best place where you will get bhakti. As you are there more and more, bhakti will grow in you day by day. Do you know why? Jadabharata tells another secret. In such places Bhagavan walks around without revealing Himself.  He roams around there secretly. 

If you are clever, just like Yasoda tied him to a mortar, tie Him to the mortar of your heart. Because we need to mature in our hearts, and the mortar is the instrument that is apt for this. Our heart needs to be fed with bhakti to mature our thoughts like how a mortar is used to make the grains fine and soft. Tie him that mortar of your heart, and if you are a devotee, Bhagavan will remain bound by you.

We saw that in Bhagavatam 5th Canto, Rishabhadeva says and Jadabharata says [about bhakti]. In the 11th canto Bhagavan Himself says. 

He tells Uddhava, “I have told you dhyana yoga, karma yoga, ashtanga yoga… you asked questions and I told you all about it all. But you are a prema bhakta. A prema bhakta like you is rare in the world, Uddhava! Whether I tell dhyana, yoga, Vedanta marga, karma marga, sankhya tattva, whatever tattva I speak of, I completely understand your heart. You are a prema bhakta, and you have taste only for bhakti. I have also told Bhakti yoga in great detail to you. There is no need for me to tell bhakti yoga anymore to you. But you have so much joy and enthusiasm in the bhakti marga, so I will tell you again how one can increase bhakti and because of which bhakti can grow more and more!”

bhakti yoga: puraivOkta: ..I have already told you about bhakti yoga before.

priyamAnAyatE anagha who is sinless! 

You asked a lot about bhakti yoga and I also said… puraivOktaha.

priyamAnAyatE anagha  punascha kadam ishyAmi  .. listen, I will tell you again

madbhaktE kAranam param

What will make the bhakti for Me grow and grow and brim over and flow day by day.. I will tell you that! 

This is being told by Sri Krishna Himself, not Rishabhadeva or Jadabharata.    

First He says: the word “shraddha! 

Let’s say someone is highly intelligent, but does not open his books or learn. What is the use? Another person wants to attain moksha, but he will not chant Nama.. then what is the use? What do we need? Perseverance! Shraddha. Only the one with shraddha will attain anything. 

So, shraddhAvAn bhavati. yAdrushI yAdrushI shraddhA tAdrushI tAdrushI siddhir bhavati

How much siddhi does one attain? It depends on how much shraddha one has!

So Bhagavan first says Shraddha. In what? Amritakatha!

 shraddhA amruta kathAyAm mE… He could have just said listen to katha. But He says listen to Bhagavatam which is pAramahamsa samhita. That is amrita katha. Because listening to other stories only gives long life, health, fame, etc. as its fruit (result). What is it for this (Bhagavatam)? It is advitIyam! jivanmukti is the fruit, for Bhagavatam. jnana is its fruit. kaivalya is the fruit. Vaikunta is the fruit.

So what is the name of this katha? Shraddha amrita katha! 

In Bhagavatam, the word “kathAmrutam” is repeated several times, Hari Kathamrutam..  and Bhagavan here adds the word “mE” (my/mine!). Listen to My nectarine, immortal (amritamaya) stories.  You will never get tired of My stories! . 

So, when should you listen to My stories?  

“shAshvat” – Always. From the time you get up in the morning to the night, keep constantly listening to My stories. You need to have immense shraddha as well as keen interest and eagerness to listen to My katha. 

I (Sri Swamiji) shall tell you true story. In Thanjavur district, there was a bhagavathar who loved to hear Bhagavat katha. He would be extremely happy to listen to divine stories. It was his daughter’s marriage. Those days in villages, the groom would be welcomed as a procession from a temple nearby in an old, decorated car, with “petromax” lights on the sides. The car will stop midway, they will restart and push it and start again. They will stop here and there along the way and play kirtans with nadhaswaram. At the marriage hall, It was a custom that the bride’s father will have to welcome the groom by offering coconuts. The bhagavathar was the bride’s father. 

During this event, he was walking along with the procession. They were playing nadhaswaram. The car stopped at one place and it took long time for it to move further. The bhagavathar heard someone telling katha in a nearby house on that street. He decided to listen to katha in the meantime until the car was ready to move.  

The car started to move, the groom and everyone reached the marriage hall. The bride’s father was missing. They searched everywhere and he was not to be found. Finally he turned up at midnight after the katha was over. He had forgotten that it was his daughter’s wedding! This is something that really happened.

shraddhA amruta kathAyAm mE 

In another village, Thappalampuliyur, there was a mahan. Everyday he would sit in front of his house and do upanyasam of Rukmini Kalayanam. He will not speak of any other katha. He will not bother who comes, who listens etc. Every evening at 4 pm, he will sit with Bhagavatam in the veranda and start Rukmini Kalyanam. He can be called as Rukmini Kalyana siddhar. He will repeat that same story again and again everyday. Like this, there were many mahans who loved listening to and telling katha. 

In Tiruvallikeni (Triplicane, a place in Chennai) there is a high school named Hindu High School. Usually if Ramayan pravachan is performed or parayan is done, a rangoli will be drawn on a wooden plank and a Hanuman picture will be kept. Since it is said “yatra yatra raghunAtha kirtanam “, Hanuman is invoked there. In some places where Bhagavatam is recited, Parikshit will be invoked. 

In Tiruvallikeni, a sadhu came to tell katha. A sincere listener also came. They put a wooden plank for the listener and told him “you are Parikshit” for today. After the katha, after the sadhu (storyteller) left, but the person who sat as Parikshit was not ready to leave that place. He said, “Did Pariskshit return home after listening to Bhagavatam? You have to send to me Vaikunta!” The very next day he passed away. 

There have been people like this…

shraddhA amruta kathAyAm mE shashvat mad anukIrtanam..

Krishna tells Uddhava, “Keep listening to my stories, listen with shraddha, you should never get tired of it…” And what should you do next?

mad anu kIrtanam” – 

Always sing my glories. Are you tired of singing Me? You need to be blessed one for that.“

“nAn enna tavam seidhEno, KaNNanai pADa?” Oothukkadu asks, “What penance did I do over my past lives to sing on Krishna?” He continues, “What tapas did my tongue do?” 

mad anukIrtanam parinishThAcha pUjAyAm…”  Do pooja sincerely for my divyamangala murthy, decorate with beautiful dresses, apply sandalwood paste, turmeric, kumkum, saffron, adorn me with crown decorated with precious stones, beautify me with garlands made with fresh, fragrant flowers, clean my sanctum sanctorum, decorate with rangolis. “parinishThAcha pUjAyAm“

If for any reason you are not able to perform puja for a day and if you feel that “Ah! I got a holiday today, I am at peace!” then you have to be slapped. Only if you feel restless thinking that “Oh! I am not able to do puja today” and yearn for it, only then have you obtained the fruit of your pooja. 

If you say, “I am free today, I will not do puja“, then whether you do puja or not,  there is no difference… parinishThAcha pUjAyAm.

Next, if you are standing in any abode of the Lord…

“stutibhihi stavanam…”  Chant anything like Gajendra Stuti, or Kunti Stuti or from Laghu Stotra Mala… keep chanting some stotras.

shraddhA amruta kathAyAm mE shashvat mad anukIrtanam

parinishThAcha pUjAyAm stutibhihi stavanam mama 

Continue doing this. 

Adara: paricharyAyAm sarvAngaihi abhi vandanam

If there is an Utsav happening for me, ask, “Shall I fan the Lord? Shall I lift the palanquin?” 

You must feel proud and feel “Who am I lifting? The great Bhagavan Himself!” You must feel pride and feel ecstatic about it.  

While fanning, think that you got an opportunity to fan for the Lord, instead of doing it for a human. In fanning the Lord, doing a procession for Him, making garlands with fresh flowers, while serving Him in any way, while offering flowers at the Lord’s feet, do not think it is “puNya, puNya” (merit) instead think it is “bhAgyam, bhAgyam” (fortune!). 

Think “Thank God, I got a good job for my hands! What other use can there be for these hands?”

I’ve been given good hands and some flowers nearby, also the sense to offer those flowers at His Lotus feet; and along with that, with immense compassion and ease, Bhagavan is showing His auspicious Lotus feet for me to offer those flowers. Offer those flowers at His Lotus feet and think that your purpose of birth is fulfilled. That’s why He says 

Adara:  paricharyAyAm…”

Then while prostrating to Me don’t simply touch and keep it on your eyes. Instead “sarvAngaihi abhi vandanam”…  prostrate with the full body on the ground saying “Prabho…” like Vaishnavas say “doing danDavat”. This means falling like a stick without support on the floor. You fall like that on the ground in front of Bhagavan, you should also fall on the ground. If Paramatma is not inside me, then I am indeed a “dhandam” (useless, lifeless stick). You are standing up, and how do you get grip on the earth to stand? You are standing without falling. How are you standing? Bhagavan is residing inside. 

To show that, do “sarvAngaihi abhi vandanam”. Prostrate again and again. 

mad bhaktA pUjAbhyadhikA…”

If Mahans who do nama sankirtan come, Bhagavan says, “Do much more elaborate puja for them than you would do for Me. I will feel happy. While you are doing puja, if a bhagavathar comes, even if you stop my puja and do puja for him, I won’t feel sad, in fact I will be happier. 

If you get a Guru who has seen Bhagavan, celebrate him with highest reverence (like offering a golden seat). It is rare to get such a Guru, it is one’s bhagyam (fortune). 

Bhagavan says “mad bhaktA pUjAbhyadhikA

In all creatures,  “sarva bhUtEshu man mati:..”When you a see a mosquito, think why is this mosquito flying? Because Krishna is sitting inside. When you see an ant, why is this ant running? Krishna is sitting inside! Why is this elephant like this? Krishna is sitting inside. Bring that observation (dhrishti) in everything. 

“madarthEshu anga chEshtA cha”.. If your legs can walk, go to the temple. If your legs can walk, go to katha. If your legs can move, dance [to My kirtan]. If your hands can move, offer flowers to Me. If hands can move, write nama. If the tongue can move, chant nama. If eyes can see, look at Bhagavan. In this way, the use of all limbs should be towards the Lord.

“vachasA mad guNEraNam …” Always say with your words ”How kripALu (compassionate) is Bhagavan! How dayALu (merciful) is Bhagavan. Bhagavan is Kripalu… how can I explain His compassion? Look, how He has manifested this huge universe! How many trees! How many leaves in each tree! Look at the leaves, its stem, flowers, fruits! How many human beings! How many different attributes! The visible and invisible lokas (worlds)! If all these are taken care of by that Lord, how great should He be!

He created the human body, made him yearn in that body, gave the fruits of his actions (karma phala)… what a wonder.. He is working in this Universe!

Like “janmAdhyasya yatha: anvayAt itara tascha…”….He is directing the entire universal drama! Talk about His compassion (kripa) and His Leelas (his plays)!

He says “vachasA mad guNEraNam mayyarpaNam cha manasa: sarva kAma vivarjanam”

Get rid of all desires from the mind. Just have one desire, “Longing for the Lord! When will I be blessed with this longing to have His darshan!”

Looking at Bhagavan, many people ask “O Lord, don’t you have eyes! I am suffering like this!”

You look at Bhagavan and say, “Many people pray for your karuNa katAksham (glance of grace)! Look at me and grace your pUrNa katAksham!” Pray to Radha Devi Herself, “Amma! The way You are always melting and melting and melting in Krishna viraha, and crying, slipping, falling down, laughing, like a mad person… please look at me (kaTAksham) with that same bhAva… let me also be graced with that state of viraha to long for and see Bhagavan!” 

madarthE artha parityAga:”Either leave all your money and come for My seva or offer your money for My seva.

artha parityAga” How should you use your money if you need to spend it? In bhaagavata kainkaryam or for Bhagavan’s Utsav. 

“bhOgasya cha sukhasya cha”Sacrifice everything for Me! Renounce [all pleasures] for My sake.

ishTam dattam hutam japtam madartham vratam tapaha…”

Krishna is saying – 

If you are doing any yAga or homa, think that because of this homa Krishna should be happy, or Krishna should be pleased, or that everything should be conducive for Krishna bhakti. While doing charity, think that if I make this donation Bhagavan will be happy. If I do this yaga, Bhagavan will be happy. If I do this japa, Bhagavan will be happy.

madartham yad vratam tapaha”

Like this whatever you do, do it for Me! For Krishna preethi! If one is like this, Uddhava, his bhakti will grow and grow manifold day by day!

Bhagavan told Uddhava, “Since you are a prema bhakta, I am telling you this secret. I explained in great detail about bhakti to you. Still, you are great bhakta, and because I have the desire to tell you more about bhakti – 

shraddhA amruta kathAyAm mE shashvat mad anukIrtanam |

parinishThAcha pUjAyAm stutibhihi stavanam mama ||

Adara: paricharyAyAm sarvAngaihi abhi vandanam |

mad bhakta pUjAbhyadhikA sarva bhUtEshu man mati: ||

madarthEshu anga chEshtA cha vachasA mad guNEraNam |

mayyarpaNam cha manasa: sarva kAma vivarjanam ||

madarthE artha parityAga: bhOgasya cha sukhasya cha |

ishTam dattam hutam japtam madartham yad vratam tapaha ||

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.20-24

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